Save Money on Your New Home with Passive Cooling

Honolulu summers can feel scorching, especially when compared to the milder winter months. And while more and more homes are installing air-conditioning systems, artificially lowering your home’s temperature often means raising your energy bills.

If you’re planning on building a new home on Oahu,  incorporating passive cooling strategies into your design plan is an important step in making your home both comfortable and energy-efficient.

Passive cooling refers to design strategies that allow a home to reduce heat gain and increase heat loss in order to maintain a consistent internal temperature. Passive cooling is especially useful in climates that experience hot summers, but still benefit from recurring wind patterns, like the northeasterly trade winds that dominate Oahu’s weather systems. 

Fortunately, an experienced architect or designer can help create a floor plan that optimizes passive cooling strategies into your home in a variety of ways. Here’s a few things to consider:

Orientation: The orientation of your home plays a key role in regulating its internal temperature. The correct orientation will both shield your home from the sun and help maximize Oahu’s tropical breezes, especially when combined with the right window placement. 

Whenever possible, orient your home’s floor plan toward the sun, and ensure that the most commonly used rooms (usually the living area and the kitchen) are on the southern side of the home. Patios and outdoor living spaces should also be built on the south side of the home. 

Windows: Windows should be large enough to let in plenty of natural light, and placed in a way that creates a natural crossbreeze throughout the home. But in order to prevent too-much sun from overhearing the home, roof overhangs, window coverings, awnings, and landscaping can be used to protect over-exposed windows.

Incidentally, long overhanging roofs are a staple in Plantation-Style Hawiian architecture, not only because of its aesthetic value, but because the deep eaves of the roofline create abundant shade.  

Outdoor Living: Another traditional aspect of Hawaiian architecture which supports passive cooling is the Lanai, a roofed veranda that often acts as an extension of the main home. Lanai’s not only facilitate indoor/outdoor living, they added shade and air flow helps keep the entire house cool during the warmer months. 

Every region poses unique challenges for homeowners hoping to reduce their energy use through passive heating or cooling. When it comes to building your Hawaiian dream house , you need professionals who understand how climate systems will inevitably impact your future home. Contact us today for resources on finding the right architect, designer, and contractors for your project, and don’t forget to check out our free online cost estimator for help planning your budget.

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(808) 222-4069

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Sunday - Closed


200 N Vineyard Blvd.
Ste A325 - 5145
Honolulu, HI 96817

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