A few days ago I posted a note to our local training group about winter running tips. One of my tips was to always try to finish your run with the wind at your back. Even non runners can imagine what it might feel like to run a few miles dressed to accommodate below freezing temps. It will not be long until you begin to build a sweat and your body’s heat clings to you because you are running with the wind.
Now imagine what happens when you stop and turn around to return to where to started. The cold wind is not only in your face it is also working to remove that comforting and perhaps over heated layer of warmth away from your body too! To make matters worse you can add 5-7 mph (your running pace) to the effective wind velocity too! In no time at all what started as a feel good winter run will end as a nasty chilling winter run regardless of how to dressed to prepare!
There is a similar comparison in architecture. Obviously buildings do not run down any road, but they are exposed to winds and elements of nature everyday. Careful attention to the placement, siting, or orientation of how a building is located on a piece of property will have a huge and permanent affect on the energy performance of that structure.
Imagine a house designed to take into consideration year around of the evening sunsets over a special view such as a lake. It would likely include a considerable extent of windows or openings to capture the view. The problem is that these same well intended openings will become easy targets for the prevailing winter winds (in Michigan) and without special attention to detail will become cold spaces or at best spaces that are costly to heat and thus waste precious energy.
Beyond winds, sun angles, micro climates, shading devices, material selection, and similar items all need to be carefully considered if a building or house is to take the best advantage of nature and have any hope of becoming an energy efficient structure.
On your next run through the neighborhood take a mental inventory of how many prototypical (or “builder” homes) there are in your neighborhood that fail to take into account basic strategies of design to positively influence the energy performance for the life of that house. Then zip up or your outermost layer and enjoy the balance of your run. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read this today.