Newcomers to the Southwest deserts learn very quickly what those who have always lived here know. The air is dry, the land is dry, everything that grows in the desert is sharp as a knife and equipped with spines, thorns and sharp edges. The sun is blazing hot and in changing seasons, the weather comes in fast and hard with crazy winds, hail and torrential rains. They also learn that they will spend a great deal more time outdoors because the land and skies are so spectacular and the views are extraordinary.
Anyone who calls the Southwest home for any period of time will tell you that managing the heat in desert living is the most important aspect in creating a comfortable space. Heat rises as we all know and therefore structures tend to be low. Single storey homes are the most common profile, but even they require ingenuity to prevent heat from entering the interiors.
A town in Massachusetts made a study of their energy costs and found that by installing timers in municipal buildings so that lights were turned on in hallways, offices, classrooms, restrooms and maintenance areas when they were needed, rather than all at once at 7:00am, they would save as much as $500,000 annually.
Every year, Dad removed the storm windows all around the house and replaced them with window screens. Those years are long gone, replaced with newer and more efficient methods of practical protection from heat and cold.
Conventional ideas about privacy suggest rolling down your inside window blinds, whether it’s a simple vinyl window shade or a hanging blind with moveable slatting to adjust the light. We close our blinds for privacy, effectively shutting us in from view. It closes the house in.
Have you marked your calendars?! The Annual Home Show is at the Santa Fe Convention Center March 11th and 12th. That’s THIS weekend!