When my husband and I moved into the home we're renting for the year, the owner of the large-windowed house offered this piece of advice: "Think of living in this home like you're sailing"...
What did he mean? Well, the house is laid out on a north-south axis. Most all of the walls are glass, offering unobstructed views and ample natural light. But that brings with it excess heat in the summer. Unless, that is, you live in the home a bit like you would sail a boat.
By shading the east side of the house in the morning and the west side in the afternoon, the interior remains cool and comfortable. In the short time we've lived here, we've become increasingly attuned to the ebb and flow of light throughout the day and the routine of "sailing": East shades are shut at night before bedtime so they're ready and waiting to block the early eastern sun. West shades are shut and east are opened just after noon, as the sun begins its descent in the western sky. As winter sets in, the "sailing" routine will reverse: open eastern shades in the morning and western ones in the afternoon will allow the sun's rays to penetrate deep into the house and help warm the space. We like this connection the home lets you to build with mother nature.
While this is an exaggerated example due to the sheer size and number of windows, this is a practice that will help in most any home. Away from home all day? You can still keep your home cool by closing all the shades and opening the east or north for indirect natural light when you arrive home in the evening.
Want to be even more effective with "sailing" your home? Check out these exterior aluminum blinds by Hella. Blocking sunlight before it passes through the window is much more effective in keeping unwanted heat from building interiors.
Images: 1: Regina Yunghans, 2: Hella