July 22, 2024


The climate is very important in creating quality in “Building” or “constructing.” It effects it in three ways: specifically in the designs that are built for the specific area being constructed in, the materials that are chosen to construct with, and using techniques that work well for that location. The understanding of how the climate works in each part of a state or country is vital. Going further, it is critical to also understand how a local or regional climate will work with a building’s aspects of design, material, and construction.

1. Design Effects from Climate

  • Solar orientation is the most straightforward consideration based on climate. In cold climates, for example, buildings are usually built to receive as much sunlight as possible, and thus large south-facing windows are the majority features. In contrast, masonry walls are used in combination with few windows in the northern dogtrot porch form because they insulate against both excessive heat and cold. Another example is eaves on buildings in hot, arid climates. “They are used to keep direct sunlight from striking and heating the wall. Once inside, the air became trapped and effectively acted as insulation.

2. Material Selection:

  • Different exterior materials are most appropriate for different climates. In wet areas, moisture-resistant materials such as brick, stucco, or fiber cement siding are favored, while in regions with very dry climates, materials with high thermal mass, like adobe or stone, are often used to give the buildings good “solidity.”
    Some of the new synthetic materials used in the construction industry, such as polyurethane or other foams, can also provide high R-values (a measure of thermal resistance) with a much lower thickness than would be required for, say, a fiberglass batt, making them ideal for applications where the building-envelope thickness is at a premium.
  • The durability and energy efficiency of the roof are key in any climate. Next, the “friendliness” of the roof slope for shedding snow is crucial where it is cold enough to have a lot of it; where it snows and melts repeatedly over the winter, snow that piles up on a heavily insulated roof can cause the roof to “go bad” and/or the eave overhang to collapse.

3. Climate and Its Impact on Heating and Cooling Building Systems

The strength of a heating unit is bound to the climate in which it operates. Why? Fluid flowing from the radiator is naturally driven by the temperature differences between the fluid and the air around it. If the fluid is considerably colder or hotter than the air around it—and if those temperature differences aren’t waning considerably—a heating unit must be considerably more forceful to raise or lower the fluid’s temperature by a noticeable degree.

In milder or more temperate climates, the homes typically do not need as much power and can get by with heat pumps. Similarly, the cooling of a home is more influenced by specific climate factors than initial heating conditions. Hot climates almost always call for some form of air conditioning, but here again, the type and size of the installation are driven by the climate.

4. Water Management:

The management of water in and around a home can be vitally important, depending on the climate and local geography. Two primary concerns are rainfall in wet areas and water conservation in dry places. In wet regions, houses must be equipped with effective ways to move water away from the house and prevent water damage.

This is typically done through systems of gutters, drains, and downspouts. In contrast, homeowners in arid regions must be especially mindful of water conservation when it comes to everyday water use, as well as “stormwater” that falls and runs off their property. Making these concerns even more relevant are projected increases in the intensity of rainfall in many areas of the world.


Quality construction of homes takes a fundamental first step when it comes to climate. If we understand the diverse and in some parts of the world, dramatic climates that exist in different places, then we can start to make sense of what kind of decisions we need to make on the local level with our homes. Should we plate our roofs in Vantablack for a worry-free Gulf storm?
What about installing a veranda on a house like one might see in the old Collins Sunken Gardens Victorian, which would also integrate well with a passive solar system and provide a sheltered space to enjoy the Gulf breezes year-round.

Note: Find construction information and good home building companies like Grit Build at https://gritbuild.net/