Design that suits its surroundings is more important than ever in the emerging new west.… Modern design is intelligent and thoughtful. What better way to approach the challenges of building in a harsh climate in a time of material and energy scarcity.
In many climates more benign than the Mountain West, choice of a particular style might not really make a difference in building performance. The style is mostly icing on the cake, and the cake itself is similar. Heating, cooling, upkeep costs, and durability are more or less the same, regardless of the style of the home.The mountain environment is a bit different, however. The extremes in temperature are greater and the sun stronger than in many locations, especially urban ones. Decisions about how a house is built, with what it is made, and what it looks like can have a huge impact on its liveability, what it costs to heat and cool, and how it weathers. Given closer examination, what style a house takes on begins to make a great deal of difference. Some styles work well in the mountain environment, and others just don’t. But beyond the question of style, the issue of how a house performs becomes much more important. In the current and future worlds of restricted energy supply and heightened carbon-emission consciousness, building performance has become even more important. A mountain environment magnifies these concerns.
By James Bourret, March 16, 2010 NewWest.net