The Sun… Making Green Greener

I’ve been forced into my air-conditioned office to write this. I was afraid my laptop would seize in the +40 humid-ex. Ahhh – Ontario in July! It got me thinking about just how important it is to think carefully about how your custom home is placed on your lot.

If you’re like me, a lot of time, effort and gentle debate with my partner happened in the journey to choosing our lot. I grew up in rural Ontario. Having my own land, with trees and uneven grades seemed a natural part of my heritage. She has an affinity for concrete (it doesn’t track mud into the house).
Our first foray into the natural world to discover our perfect lot was a little tenuous. I was excited, even a little giddy. She had a list that she downloaded from the internet.

But in the next couple of blogs I want to go over four important things to consider when you buy your own lot and start to imagine your dream home on it.

Let’s start with the sun.

The sun is the most powerful source of heat we have. That’s pretty easy to see on a day like today. In fact, we’d like to shut it off occasionally in July. But the pathway of the sun on your lot is really important. The way you build your house and how it is situated in the pathway of the sun is critical for maximum green advantage.

In my first house, the sun beat a pathway from back to front. The early morning sun poured into the master bedroom in the morning. In winter it was great – a bit of extra warmth in January. In the summer we make great use of insulated blinds as the temperature of the room can rise more than fifteen degrees in one hour. Our patio and barbecue was in the back – which was perfect. Because most of our time there was in late afternoon or evening, we had the warmth of the day without the super heat of the sun.

That’s just the tips of the iceberg.

With careful planning, you can take advantage of the sun for solar heating units. Giving back to the power grid or powering your own home is a huge benefit. In Ontario, managing the sun is more difficult than in climates that have a more even temperature year round.

You have to consider the advantage of the sun to help you heat your home in the winter and the disadvantage of the sun for a cool home in the summer. Knowing the pathway of the sun when you design your home is a great advantage of a custom-designed home on your lot. You are not limited by developer’s schemes and drawings. You have the freedom to place your home in many different ways.

Enjoy the sun – here’s my new favourite summer drink – you might want to try it. Throw a couple of cups of ice into your blender. Squeeze in a fresh lemon. Add sugar to taste. I like it tart – but each person’s taste is unique. Start with a quarter cup and go from there. Blend until it’s smooth. (Hint: if you like, add a bit of mint.) If you want to retain the amazing refreshing coldness take a tip from A&W and chill your glasses in the freezer. If you want an extra zing, add a bit of vodka to each glass before you pour the lemonade slush. Add a straw….. and relax.

If you have a favourite summer drink – let me know. I’m always ready to try something new.


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