There are several important considerations when having your home designed for an extreme southern climate. Although you may have a particular style in mind, you must take into consideration what styles are popular in tropical areas. There’s a reason these styles are popular, primarily because they have architectural elements that are crucial to a comfortable, healthy home. For more specific information, consider contacting The Construction & Architecture Group, who can give more details on some of the considerations made by designing buildings in Florida and other warming areas in the United States.
First among design priorities should be airflow. Without airflow, mold or fungus will soon follow. Closing up the house and creating an artificial climate using air conditioners and dehumidifiers may work in warmer parts of the United States, but if your home is being built in a tropical area south of the U.S., you should be aware that the current energy prices may run three to four times higher, and should there be a long-term power outage, the mold could wreak havoc inside your closed-design house.
Bearing this in mind, a large roof overhang is an essential feature to a tropical home, covering the outside areas immediately surrounding the home, so that the sun never touches the doors or windows, or if it does, it only does so briefly at sunset. This will prevent unnecessary heating of the house during the day.
Walls should be minimized so that the floorplan is kept open and spacious, allowing easy airflow. Unlike in colder climates where smaller, segmented rooms allow for easier heating and more protection from outdoor elements, the walls in southern regions are used more for privacy. Therefore you’ll want expansive, open doorways, and easily-manipulated methods for privacy, such as louvered walls or doors, wooden curtains, or lattice walls.
A lanai is popular in places like Hawaii, a large outdoor space sheltered from the sun, with plenty of access to fresh air, and bushes planted around the house, which will help cool the air as it passes through them.
Ceilings should always be high and steeply pitched, to allow the warm air to rise to the roof and escape out of roof vents. The steep pitch allows easier drainage of water off the roof during monsoon season.
A favorite of many homeowners is a water feature, such as a pool, pond, fountain, or reflecting pool. Not only can you take a dip in a pool to refresh yourself, but any water feature will help cool the air as it passes over the water.
With these requirements in mind, you may understand easier why you see the types of homes that you do in tropical climates. By utilizing these features, you can make sure that your tropical home is designed to keep you as comfortable as possible.