Where Are All The Porches?
It’s Cool, Green & Shady Right Here
I remember when every house on the street had a porch. We called them porches, breeze ways, verandas and sometimes a patio – when a patio had a roof. That’s what made a porch a porch – a roof.
Some of them had ‘walls’ – which could be all screen from floor to ceiling or, as was usual, a few support beams which by suggestion made us think there were walls when it was wide open to fresh breezes. The roof could be anything: an extension of the house; a balcony; – or – a trellis with grape vines, hanging pots of blooming flowers, and sumptuous ivy.
A porch, when properly planned is a wise green home renovation which reduces energy consumption – saving you money. And porches have massive social appeal. It’s the place to read, to talk, to relax and avoid texting – porches just make life better by making life a little bit slower.
Porches Save Energy
Here’s how it works: in the summer, the overhang of the porch roof extending from the face of your home prevents direct sunlight from striking your windows – thereby reducing the need for air conditioning to keep your home comfortable in the summer.
In the winter, when the sun has a lower horizon, sunlight is able to enter through your windows because the sun is much lower in the sky – that direct sunlight helps to warm your home in the winter. Which, as you guessed, reduces the need to heat your home, helping you save energy in the winter.
Passive Solar Design
For existing homes, adding a porch to protect your home from direct sunlight is the next best thing to aligning a new home on-site to the actual traverse of the sun. It’s also a less expensive than moving.
By providing shade and preventing the sun from shining straight into your main floor rooms, a porch helps reduce the need for air conditioning in summer. In winter, the porch acts as a buffer between the freezing cold outside and your exterior walls.
It’s Just For You
And your family
There are as many porch designs as there are people to dream them up. Only you decide what will be important. The best way to get started is to figure out what you’ll be using the porch for. Is it a place to have a never-ending staircase for kids and plain folk to sit on? Is it a bug-free zone that still captures a summer breeze? Is it a dining and entertaining area for summer nights and fall evening barbecues?
Once you have a pretty good idea of how you’ll be using this new feature, it will practically design itself. If you’ve never built anything like this before before, plan on making it bigger than you think it should be. Twice or 3X bigger. Once you’ve done that, make it even bigger again. It’s because of the lack of solid walls. That makes us all want to spread out a bit more, be more spacious.
Do you have any good porch stories? Better yet, what’s your definition of a porch?