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  #1  
Old 09/01/12, 05:20 AM
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Talking Sustainable House for Hot Climate

I'd like to build a tiny house (single story, 500-800sqm) made of highly durable, sustainable, low-maintenance materials. My region is Sub-Saharan Africa; the climate is mostly very hot and dry.

What are my options?

I am interested in making use of our abundant fieldstones by building a stone house, but I'm unsure if this is a good idea in our climate. Would a stone house be unbearable in hot weather?

My only requirements are that the house is cooling and sustainable. Since it is my dream to eventually live without spending money, I'd like to have a house that I won't ever have to repaint or fix up once it's made. Is this at all possible?

Thanks,

Sleptember
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  #2  
Old 09/02/12, 09:45 AM
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Oops...meant 500-800 sq ft!
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  #3  
Old 09/02/12, 03:44 PM
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Wow- There's hot, and then there's HOT!! My first thought would be to try to make as much of it as possible underground. I don't know what the soil temperatures would be at say 8' down. In a climate that dry, evaporative cooling is a good choice, and can be pretty cheap and easy. Thirdly, you need to keep that hot sun out, and take advantage of the radiational cooling that takes place at night. So the strategy would be to minimize the daily heat-up, then enjoy the coolness of the night time.
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Old 09/02/12, 05:05 PM
 
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You may also want to build your rooms tall. When I lived in AL you could really notice the old houses with tall rooms.

Pay attention to your climate. If you get a rainy season building down may end up having a swimming pool inside.

I saw a video (can't remember the name) of a guy in the southwest US who built highly energy efficient homes that worked with the climate. He went to the place that was devastated by the tsunami and showed them how to build homes that worked with their climate.
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  #5  
Old 09/02/12, 05:14 PM
 
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Take a look at earthships. They started and are based in Taos, New Mexico which is similar climate and they've built a few in Africa. Sustainable Green Buildings - Earthship Africa - earthship.com
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  #6  
Old 09/02/12, 08:56 PM
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I'd look into cooling towers...
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Old 09/03/12, 11:46 PM
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Thanks for the great ideas, guys.

Does any one have any info on double roofing? I've only been able to find one source and one architect that claims that a steel canopy above the house can increase cooling. Seems to make sense, but then why isn't this more well known?

Sustainable House for Hot Climate - Homestead Construction

Sustainable House for Hot Climate - Homestead Construction
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  #8  
Old 09/04/12, 03:11 AM
 
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The way I see double roofs used here is on mobile homes. People build a carport style structure over their mobile home roof. It provides more of a shaded canopy for the structure & allows airspace for the heat to escape. In a traditional home this should result in the attic space being cooler, which would provide better cooling for the home.
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  #9  
Old 09/04/12, 10:21 AM
 
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Any kind of shade will help keep the house from heating up.

We used morning glories and scarlet climbing bean vines to keep our house cool one summer. It really worked well but it takes water to keep the vines growing.
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  #10  
Old 09/14/12, 11:24 AM
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It's always cooler in the shade. Up until this year, my entire roof was covered by the shade of huge oaks... it'd stay a good 20 to 25 degrees cooler in the house than outside, if I kept the doors closed. Out in the bald sun, you feel all the heat (radiant?).

My next home is going to be out in the naked sun... keep dreaming up alternatives for shade... an extra roof, or broken pattern (milsurplus) type netting, to create artificial shade.
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  #11  
Old 09/14/12, 11:56 AM
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I have seen these canopy/carports over mobile homes and campers here in Ohio and talked to people about them they do make a big difference in heating and cooling mostly cooling and it does not cost that much .
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  #12  
Old 09/14/12, 12:33 PM
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High thermal mass with night cooling, for the climate you describe.
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