Minimizing the Impact of Arizona’s Intense Sun When Designing and Building a Custom Home

As Arizona custom home builders, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC  the position of the house as it relates the sun has always been an important consideration.  In Arizona, north or south exposures have always been the most desirable direction for a house as it sits on a lot.  In some subdivisions, the lots with north or south exposures are offered at a premium to east or west facing lots.  In some well-planned subdivisions, nearly all of the vacant lots have north and south exposures.   There is usually a main vehicular artery in the neighborhood that prohibits this completely, but as many lots as possible are created with north or south exposures.  In other parts of the country this may not be as important as in Arizona.  Outlined below are five common strategies for minimizing western sun exposures in Arizona custom homes. 

1)  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we work with our customers and their architect or home designer with the placement of the house on the lot for the best sun exposure, minimizing the worst sun exposures.  Turning the layout of the house on the plan, perhaps just angling the house slightly can affect how the sun’s rays hit the house and any western exposures.  In one home, a bedroom’s bathroom and walk-in closet had been designed on the interior of a western exposed bedroom, but since these rooms are occupied much less of the time than the bedroom, these rooms were redesigned and placed on the western wall of the bedroom.

2)  Good window placement and window size are effective strategies to minimize the intense Arizona sun on a custom home.  Decreasing the number of windows with direct western exposure can greatly reduce the sun’s penetrating rays from entering the house.  This again is best done during the floor plan stage of a custom home.  In one case, where a large window was designed for direct western exposures, we asked the designer to move the window to the north wall of the secondary bedroom.    Where windows must be placed with western exposure, window sizes may be reduced but still meet egress requirements.  Awnings installed on western exposed windows can also reduce the impact of the sun’s rays from penetrating such rooms.

3)  Large eaves and overhangs can reduce the sun’s direct rays from penetrating through a home’s windows.  Depending on the architectural style of a custom home, some styles look great with large eaves or overhangs.  These large eaves act like an umbrella and minimize the sun’s direct hit on windows better than a house with smaller eaves or a home without eaves.  

4)  The placement of the home’s garage can also affect the home’s exposure to the sun.  A west facing garage is often designed this way to keep the livable areas of the home adjacent to the garage cooler.  In these cases, the garage gets the worst of the western sun exposure, but since garage areas are not cooled, this can serve as a buffer area to the rest of the house.

5)  Establishing heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning zones in a home may minimize the energy required to cool the home.  Grouping the western exposed rooms onto an exclusive air-conditioning unit or zone allows this unit or zone to keep only these rooms cool, yet preventing other interior rooms to get overly cold because they are on their own air-conditioning unit or zone.

There are many options when planning a custom home to minimize the intense Arizona sun from negatively impacting the house with unnecessary and uncomfortable heat.  As Arizona custom home builders, at Woodridge Custom Builders LLC .  The placement of the house on the lot, the number and size of western exposed windows, the size and depth of the home’s eaves, the garage placement, and using zoned heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units are several that, if well-planned can minimize the sun’s impact on a home and the associated energy bill for the home.  At Woodridge Custom Builders LLC, we enjoy assisting our custom home buyers effectively plan their home to minimize western exposures and maximize the desirable north and south exposures adored by Arizona homeowners.

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