Learn how to beat the heat with smart home design. Don’t depend solely on air-conditioning or fans. Incorporate elements into your home design to keep things cool. Whether you are remodeling or building new, options are available.

“If you can, take advantage of your home’s natural ventilation, add shading and use the right materials,” says Marshall Hickox, president of Homeworks Construction.

Homeworks Construction shared its top recommendations and the secrets to building a cooler home.

Trade winds are the most consistent during the summer months through September. On Oahu, the strongest winds are felt in places like Kaneohe, Kailua and the North Shore.

“If you can, design your home with the longest walls facing north and south. This orientation allows for winds to travel through the home,” Hickox says.

Open floor plans take greater advantage of this ventilation, so minimizing closed spaces during a renovation helps.


Windows also help manage heat in your home.

“Windows today aren’t the same louvered-glass windows you remember sneaking out of during your younger days,” Hickox jokes.

Whether louvered or not, older windows allow ventilation, but let in heat too.

“Today, windows can be double or triple-glazed, tinted or incorporate a special coating that reflects infrared light and UV (ultraviolet) rays while still letting light through,” Hickox says.

Roof design, eaves and overhangs can also be a smart way to keep interiors cool.

“We recommend using lighter or reflective roofing materials, and adding vents to let hot air escape,” Hickox says.

An overhang is any part of the roof that extends past the exterior wall. The eave is the edge of the roof, and it typically supports the gutter system.


This system shades your windows from direct sunlight and reduces the amount of wall that sunlight can penetrate.

“This system protects your home from wind, sun and rain and offers one of the best ways to keep your home cool,” Hickox emphasizes.

Materials matter. Homeworks experts recommend good-quality materials tested for Hawaii.

“Homeworks Construction has been in business (for) 30 years and our guiding principle is to build homes with better products,” Hickox says.

He advises homeowners to ask about the heat-reducing properties of construction materials in advance. From radiant barriers and siding to windows and frames — all choices matter.

The last recommendation is a Hawaii homeowner favorite: Add an outdoor living space.

“A lanai extends your home’s cover and creates shaded, breezy areas without increasing heat indoors. Consider adding a pergola or trellis with climbing plants to help reduce heat,” Hickox says.


He adds that landscaping can also help: “Adding ponds, fountains or even a small pool can help cool the air around your home.”

If you are considering building new or remodeling, take heat management into consideration. By using the right materials and design elements, you can add to your home’s comfort, save money and stay cool. If you are looking for ideas or have questions about your home project, contact Homeworks Construction for a free consultation.

CALL 808-955-2777
ADDRESS 2111 S. Beretania St., Honolulu
EMAIL mrh@homeworkshawaii.com
WEB homeworkshawaii.com