4 tips on building orientation and location

4 tips on building orientation and location

In these months of intense heat is when the quality is tested and the defects of our constructions are exposed. The thermal sensation outside can easily go over 36ºC / 97º F, making you sweat like a glass of Margarita on the beach.

Over the years, the residents of Los Árboles have transmitted the knowledge acquired through trial and error from the pioneers to the new members of this community. Despite the existence of endless manuals for sustainable construction in warm climates, the sub-evergreen forest of Quintana Roo and the peculiarities of the unique location of this area deserve some advice that can make a difference in the comfort of your home.

LOCATION

It is important to carry out an initial study of the lot, its contours and vegetation, in order to select the perfect location of the house.

  • A high place with respect to the rest of the area will be ideal to avoid flooding on the rainy season.
  • For a better use of resources, natural slopes can be used for the hydro sanitary ducts and the undercuts for the placement of pools, water tanks and septic tanks, which will reduce the need to dig.

CLEARED AREA & BUILDING DESIGN

The felling of trees and the structure of the house should take into account the future location of the photovoltaic panels, which should be as high as possible and away from the shadows of the adjacent vegetation.

  • Having a sufficient separation from the height of the building will protect the south façade from direct rays without obstructing the exposure of the panels.
  • Reducing the surface of the walls exposed south to the sun will also be a good method to reduce the heat that the walls will accumulate at the end of the day.
  • Leaving some trees here and there in the clear can help lower the temperature surrounding the house but it can become a serious inconvenience for the management of space during construction.

ORIENTATION

The orientation of a house to the north works very well in dry and hot climates, however, in humidity and weather conditions such as that of the Mayan jungle, it might not be the best option.

  • An orientation of the main windows to the east will allow the morning sun, which is the least hot, to quickly evaporate the indoor night humidity. Despite wanting to avoid the incidence of direct rays inside the house during most of the day, in the morning it will be the best time to take advantage of them and dry the interior in the rainiest months.
  • The trade winds, from east to west, can be used by orienting the main windows of the house on this axis for constant ventilation. It will be important to favor the currents to sufficiently separate the east side of the vegetation.

BASEMENT HEIGHT

Raising the base of the house is a good idea in order to stay away from the moisture of the jungle floor and reduce the amount of insects that enter.

  • Any height from 1 meter (3 feet)  will be ideal to improve interior comfort, either by palafites or with high foundations.
  • It is very recurrent to cover the ground around the building with gravel or sascab to insulate the house from the humidity of the jungle floor.

We hope these tips are helpful when planning the construction according to your personal habits and taste. If you have any questions about how to move forward and set-up your future dream home, the neighbors will be happy to answer you through personal experiences here or having an iced coffee near their pools. Do you think we have left anything important behind about orientation and location of a house? Tell us below!


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