Cold Climates

Cold climates feature long cold winters with short, very hot periods occurring occasionally during the summer. Cold climates generally occur around 45 degrees latitude north or south, for example, in North Dakota. Buildings designed for cold climates emphasize heat retention, protection from rain and snow, and winter wind protection. They often include passive solar heating, with the building encouraging heat retention without mechanical assistance.

In cool regions, minimizing the surface area of the building reduces exposure to low temperatures. The building is oriented to absorb heat from the winter sun. Cold air collects in valley bottoms. North slopes get less winter sun and more winter wind, and hilltops lose heat to winter winds. Setting a building into a protective south-facing hillside reduces the amount of heat loss and provides wind protection, as does burying a building in earth. In cold climates, dark colors on the south-facing surfaces increase the absorption of solar heat. A dark roof with a steep slope will collect heat, but this is negated when the roof is covered with snow.

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