Q: How can you maximize the sun when building a home?

A: Most would think to add solar panels that would generate power in order to convert energy from the sun to dollars in your pocket. It is a great investment particularly when you consider the State and Federal tax incentives. But, I’d like you to consider other enhancements as well.

Home positioning is critical. Think of the beautiful farm homes arranged around shade trees. The shading from the sun makes a huge impact on improving comfort in the hot summer months. You can make similar enhancements even though you may not have room or time for shade trees.

I would suggest careful planning when considering where and how the home is placed on the lot. Consider where the sun will be at all times of the day in regard to your home. A small adjustment of a home’s position can make all the difference.

Often overlooked in home design are the roof overhangs. Extended roof overhangs (24” to 42”) can make all the difference. The hot summer sun is blocked by the roof overhangs thus providing less energy passing through the windows. This provides a shading effect that prevents the sun from heating your home. In the cold winter month the sun drops in the sky and will then pass through the windows helping to heat your home. Thoughtful planning with roof overhangs is a great timeless investment.

Front and rear patio covers can increase your comfort both outside and inside the home. It is rare today for us to build a home without a rear patio cover.

Proper planning for window placement and appropriate types of windows are a must. Energy efficient windows and solar coatings are most helpful. Sometimes it is helpful to have a solar reflective coating on the windows that take the most sun. It will help save energy and help prevent fading of furniture and flooring.

Thank you for reading Ask The Builder and making The Columbian of Vancouver, WA a part of your day.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com. Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am and 860 am Saturdays at 1 pm.