Climate Considerations for Builders – Expanding to New Climates
How to Build Homes in Different Climates
If you’re expanding your building business to new climates you’ll have to be prepared to do things a bit differently. A home in Minnesota won’t be constructed in the same manner as a home in Arizona, so doing your research beforehand is vital.
From climate considerations when building to the desires of your target buyers in this new location, here are some of the things you need to consider.
Cold Weather Adds Another Layer of Complexity When Building
Building a home in extremely cold climates comes with a unique set of difficulties. If you’ve never tried building during a freezing cold winter there are a few things you should know:
- The freeze/thaw cycle of the climate can impact the home’s foundation. It’s problematic for foundations because of frost heaving, which occurs when soil freezes and then thaws. Your foundation may have to be 4 to 5 feet below grade in very cold regions.
- Avoid too many west-facing windows, even in cold climates. If too much sun comes in the house can become too warm, regardless of the outside temperature.
- North-facing windows can also cause problems (namely heat loss), especially if winds blow from that direction.
- Steep roofs are great for areas that receive a lot of snow.
- Don’t build overhangs that are too big in colder climates, because this can prevent much-needed sun from warming up the home during the year’s coldest months.
Considerations for Building in Hot Climates
Extremely warm climates have their own building best practices, too:
- Overhangs can be very useful in hot climates, especially if the area also receives a lot of rainfall. They’ll shade the windows and protect the home from moisture.
- Tall ceilings allow for hot air to rise and are welcome in warm locales.
- Depending where you build, solar panels might also be desirable in your new region. It’s best to speak with local real estate agents first, however. Not all homeowners want the responsibility of a home with solar panels.
- You have some more leeway with roof design in hotter climates, though you should still consider how much precipitation the area gets.
- Cool roofs work great in these environments and they can even help homeowners save money on their electricity bills.
- Mudrooms are more desirable in cold, snowy climates.
Additional Climate Considerations for Home Builders
Hot and cold aren’t your only climate concerns. Put these additional items on your radar depending on where you want to expand your business:
- Safe rooms are often desired in tornado-prone areas.
- Soffit vents are typically installed in regions with high rainfalls, and may even be required by code.
Regardless of where you’re building, it can be helpful to remember that you have one main goal: build a home that protects the owners from the outside elements. Keeping this in mind will guide you toward building homes that are appropriate for the local climate.
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