February 16th, 2009
By Diane Porter
Green Right Now
Wouldn’t you just love to pick your house up, turn it this way and that way on the lot, and figure out where it really makes the most sense? The spot where it catches the prevailing breeze, has shade in the summer, sun in the winter, and energy savings year-round?
That’s how houses were placed before air-conditioning, when a family’s comfort inside depended on how well the house functioned. But today, we live in tidy rows on uniform blocks that line up in a way that makes more sense for real estate than anything else. The decision as to which way our doors and windows face was most likely made by a developer putting down dozens of homes at once; the placement of our driveways and patios followed suit.
And if the sun bakes us in the summer, or if our living room is freezing in the winter, we tend to focus on things we can do inside the house to mitigate the problem. We turn the thermostat up or down; we dig out the blankets in winter or the fans in summer.
And we pay for all of it, in comfort and utility bills.