How to Build a Home That Will Stay Cool During Edmonton Summers

Posted on: 2021-09-15

Building a new house is the perfect time to take advantage of design choices that can keep your home cool during Edmonton summers.

Not looking to build? There are also plenty of ways you can renovate your home to beat the summer heat!

With a few strategic changes to your home’s design, you can create a comfortable and cool space as well as reduce your air conditioning usage and power bill.

Here are some ways you can build or redesign a house to withstand summer weather:

How to Build or Redesign a House to Withstand Summer Weather

Consider Your Home’s Orientation

Depending on the site where you plan on building your house, you should orient the structure so that more windows face south than either east or west. This is because the sun rises and sets a little more in the south in the wintertime and more to the north in the summer.

By doing so, you can take advantage of the sunlight during the colder months and avoid the heat it produces during summer weather.

Plus, if you strategically plant deciduous trees (the ones that lose their leaves in the fall), they can help block out some of the summer heat and let it light during the winter.

Take Advantage of the Stack Effect

It’s common knowledge that heat rises, so in your new home you can expect hot air to rise through the building to the roof. If you allow the air to exhaust out through the roof, the phenomenon will suck cooler air from the bottom of the house.

This cooler air will come up through the floorboards and sub-floor area and cool your main living space. 

To take advantage of the stack effect, place high-level windows under the ceiling line or create voids or atriums that are taller than the overall height of the space. Voids and atriums are terms that describe large open areas that take up two stories of your home.

Properly Insulate the House

Insulation not only benefits your home in the wintertime but in the summertime as well. Unwanted heat can enter your home through the walls and the roof in addition to the windows.

Installing proper insulation will go a long way to keeping summer heat out of your new home. While you’re insulating, make sure the house is also airtight so that you can close it up during the day to keep even more heat out.

Install a Reflective Roof

Dark roofs are definitely traditional but a light-colored, reflective roof can also help keep your home cool during the hot Edmonton summers. 

While bright, galvanized-metal roofs are reflective, they also have low emissivity – this refers to the material’s ability to release absorbed heat. Look for roof materials with a high emissivity level.

Keep in mind that good insulation may be all you need to reduce heat gain in your home but reflective roofs help combat the urban heat island effect which is the general warming of urban areas.

Provide Thermal Mass in the House

Chimney clad with clinker bricks on a newly covered roof

The use of thermal mass, such as a brick chimney, slate floor, or plaster walls, can help keep a house interior from getting too hot during summer days – and also reduce the need for air conditioning.

These high-mass materials absorb heat during the day and release that heat at night. This is highly beneficial in areas where temperatures shift dramatically from warm to cold in one day.

Control the Humidity

Humidity is the measure of the amount of water vapor in the air and can cause discomfort as well as kick in your air conditioner more than it is needed.

Designing a house that prevents heat gain is one step to preventing humidity but you should also consider sealing your basement to prevent moisture seepage, installing proper flashing to avoid the entry of rain, and installing bathroom fans to exhaust moisture build-up.

If all else fails, you could always run a dehumidifier but this will add extra money to your hydro bill.

Facilitate Proper Ventilation

You want to make sure that you can properly ventilate your home when the outdoor temperature and humidity are low enough. Many Edmonton homeowners close up their houses during the day then open the windows at night to air out their homes.

You can also use fans around your home to carry out a “night flush” when the evening temperatures drop.

Install Ceiling Fans

Speaking of fans, installing ceiling fans can help keep your home cool in the summer by circulating air and wicking away sweat from your skin.

Most people still feel comfortable with air temperatures as much as 5°F warmer than the temperature of still air when a fan is gently moving the air around.

Plus, you can switch the rotation of the fan blades in the wintertime to help keep your home warm. Bonus!

Having ceiling fans around your home can also reduce the amount of time your air conditioning system is needed.

Use Efficient Appliances and Lightbulbs

They may be small, but lightbulbs can be mighty when it comes to contributing to the heat inside your home. Switching them over to LED or fluorescent bulbs can make a difference in your home’s interior temperature.

Likewise, your appliances, such as your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, etc., can create a lot of unwanted heat. Consider switching to or purchasing more energy-efficient appliances.

Choose the Right Window Treatments

While blinds and curtains can be effective in warding off the summer heat, they aren’t going to significantly deflect the sun compared to exterior options. This is because, by the time the sun gets to the blinds, it’s already passed through the glass and brought the heat with it.

Consider external solutions such as awnings, shutters, and louvers that will stop heat transfer from the sun before it even reaches your windowpanes. 

Plus, they are adjustable so you can take advantage of the sun’s warmth during the wintertime.

Ready to Beat the Heat?

Not only does Parabola Developments specialize in quality renovations – we specialize in quality modern home building as well!

We offer modern style and unique design that will give you confidence when building your new home.

Are you ready to beat the heat with your new Edmonton home? Let’s get in touch today!