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valleygirlinaz
To Pittsburgheast, I can totally relate, because, I live in The Arizona Desert, Where temperatures are Xtremely high in the Summer. We too, keep our shutters or blinds closed most of the time, because the Heat gets unbearable inside the home if you dont. Trying to Use Sun as a source of heat here, is way to Hot.

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BISHOP architects
We live in Austin, Texas where it's routinely 90+ degrees and sunny for at least 6 months a year, and our utility bills sure show it. We made a few simple adjustments to our house and reduced our overall utility bills by 25%. Not all that we changed in our house are related to solar exposure but they will all contribute to a more efficient house if implemented. Our windows are double pane but without a low-e coating so we added a low-e film to the inside of the windows. They appear slightly darker from the inside but without a noticeable change on the exterior. We also sprayed a low-e paint onto the underside of the roof decking and rafters. This paint acts in the same way as the window film, by blocking the sun's heat from entering the building (or containing it in winter). We also added more roof insulation, changed bulbs to fluorescent and bought a more efficient dryer. Luckily we have large trees that help shade the walls, but it was the combination of what we added to the windows and roof that made the most difference. Having a few retrofit strategies are sure helpful when you can't start over with a new design.
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Duo Dickinson, architect
The sun makes it clear what you need to do!
   

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