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  • Writer's pictureKeith Groninger

Building Sustainable Homes in Hot, Humid Climates

Updated: Jan 16

Green and Sustainable Construction Practices for your new custom home in Winter Park, Orlando and Central Florida

Most homes in Florida have AC ducts located in a vented attic space. As you probably know, the attic space can become very warm and humid, especially in the summer. This process called "the greenhouse effect" is the same science that warms our earth and also causes your car to get very warm on the inside when it sits in the sun.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Under the right conditions, condensation can form on poorly insulated ductwork. This is the same science that causes a glass of ice tea to sweat on the outside. Gaps in the insulation can cause condensation to form on the top of a drywall ceiling or the exposed metal of a recessed can light. While ventilation is meant to reduce the heat in the attic, it admits warm, humid Florida air.

But this is only one of the problems associated with typical attic construction.

Blown-in insulation is also common with this "old school" method of construction. Because the temperature in the attic is so much higher than the preferred temperature inside the house, lots of this rodent nesting material is necessary to slow the heat exchange. The dusty mess in the attic also contributes to poor indoor air quality as it leaks in around all the recessed can lights.

To make matters even worse, the high temperature in the attic puts a thermal load on the AC ducts increasing the cost to heat and cool your home. Surely you have felt the warm rush of air coming from the ceiling vents when the AC kicks on.

Unvented attic construction can solve the problems of wasted energy, condensation and indoor air quality. In a sealed attic, spray foam insulation is applied to the underside of the roof deck causing the attic to be part of the insulated envelope. The attic will not become super heated and remains clean and comfortable.

Photo courtesy of Ning Interactive

Contrary to the above image, we actually prefer open-cell spray foam insulation but that's a topic for another blog post.

It seems crazy that many new homes are still built using ventilated attics. Why are so many builders reluctant to offer improved methods of construction? The staff at Groninger Homes is happy to offer assistance and a little education about the best construction practices for your home.

There is some interesting history behind the evolution of attic spaces that actually originates in the State of Florida. Read more about it in another blog post:

Some additional articles that compliment this topic:

Little is more meaningful and personal than a home, and the experience of designing and building your own home should be rewarding and enjoyable. Choosing a builder is difficult. The process of designing and building a home involves numerous decisions about components, systems and services selected from criteria that includes price, quality, appearance and performance. How can you possibly understand everything unless the builder is willing to share all of the information?   

Allow us to introduce you to The GCH Way of building your next home. Please let us know if you have any questions. Keith Groninger

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