top of page
Search
  • Alfa

Cold houses in winter and warm in summer. How to solve?

In today's market, there is a wide range of solutions for heating and cooling homes, which go precisely through the materials chosen at the time of construction, but also through the mechanisms selected and placed for the use of spaces.



Photography by Francisco Nogueira; Decor by Santo Infante


“In Portugal construction is bad”. This is as frequent statement said about houses being hot in summer and cold in winter. But is it really true or are there other factors to take into account?


The energy bill is often one of the heaviest in the monthly budget of Portuguese families. Reaching the hotter or colder months, it's the one that shoots off immediately due to air conditioning or other cooling/heating systems. The blame almost always lies with the construction methods used.


There is a previous point that must be taken into account. Construction, like all areas, also evolves and is also updated. The materials used in construction have not changed that much from the 1930s until now, keeping the foundations on concrete, brick, plaster, cement, wood or stone for the floors… What has changed is the thermal insulation, which began to be used as a legal requirement.


Over the years, legislation has been increasingly specified as a result of the knowledge we have about different construction materials and also because the environment itself has also been undergoing changes. Today, in Portugal, the climate is very different from what it was a few years ago. The architecture and construction are in constant evolution and accompany all these changes.


We started by making double walls with a dart box, later going through thermal insulation inside that dart box and, nowadays, the entire building is coated, on the outside, with thermal insulation called ETICS, also known as capoto.


So if it's natural for an older house to be hotter/colder in certain months, it is no longer the case with new construction or when an old house undergoes renovations. We have already spoken about the basic materials of the construction itself, the construction of the walls, the roofs and exterior surfaces, and the insulation that is placed. But it is also necessary to take into account the finishes used, namely windows, and even indoor air ventilation systems.


Windows, for example, today with double glazing and new technology of the glass itself, have solar and acoustic control, with thermal cutting. Ventilation has always existed and in the past it was natural, because there were slits between the windows and, nowadays, it is forced because the window frames are watertight.


In addition to these topics, to build a new house these days, it is necessary that it has energy certification level A, when about six years ago it was B.


We can conclude that, in today's market, there is a wide range of solutions for heating and cooling homes, which go precisely through the materials chosen at the time of construction, but also through the mechanisms selected and placed for the use of spaces. They may be more expensive solutions at first, that's for sure, but they are certainly lighter on the energy consumption bill and less harmful to the environment.


Throughout this process, as we are talking about technical characteristics and professional certifications, it is important to have the help of specialists to choose the best solutions for the house in question. Both energy consultants and the architectural team responsible for the construction or renovation of a house must be consulted, and they are an important help to have houses with all the thermal comfort and more economical in terms of consumption.

Comments


bottom of page