Bahay kubo in CELL, Cavite
A green space is a space that is built with the local climate in mind. Our country is a tropical climate. And one of the major difficulties of tropical climates is cooling interior spaces.
Cooling a space mechanically generally takes up as much as 50 percent of the electricity bill. By cutting down on your use of the air-con, not only do you save energy and money, but also any greenhouse gases that may have been emitted by the production of electricity. This series looks at the various ways of being comfortable without turning on the energy.
One of the most efficient ways of preventing direct sunlight from entering spaces is providing sunshades.
Sunshades are horizontal or vertical elements that are strategically placed at windows and other openings to directly block the sun’s rays at any given time of the day. Sunshades can also protect the exterior face from added heat gain, keeping the interior cool. There are certain structures that even placed them on the roof!
Window overhang. Photo by Jacob Termansen from Tropical Style by Gillian Beal (2003)
Sunshades come in all shapes and sizes. They can be large fins at the sides of a window or a group of flat louvers covering it entirely. They can also be a lattice or mesh covering the entire structure. They can be made of steel, aluminum, concrete or wood. Plants, specifically vines and hanging varieties, can also be allowed to creep over exterior supports (and if it’s a fragrant, flowering kind, can generate a nice scent inside when the wind passes through).
Vertical louvers. Photo by Jacob Termansen from Tropical Style by Gillian Beal (2003)
Here is the rule of thumb for the use of sunshades. For north or south-facing windows, use horizontal sunshades due to the vertical position of the sun. For east or west-facing windows, use vertical sunshades due to the low angle of the sun at mornings and late afternoon.
The size and design of sunshades can be computed based on the orientation, location and size of the window. Just ask your capable designer (make sure he/she knows the formulas). Or you can download The Solar Tool from the internet (http://ecotect.com/products/solartool). Try the trial version for free!
Wide roof eaves of the Manosa house
If you have a limited budget, think about redesigning the biggest sunshade you may already have – the roof eaves! Lengthen the roof eaves to at least two meters. Consider lowering and extending the roof line (if your roof is sloped) to at least eye level and partially protecting your windows. That way, even while standing up and the sun is low on the horizon, you will not experience glare.
Tags: conscious living, green, green design, passive cooling, passive cooling strategies, philippine architecture, philippine design, sunshades, tropical design
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