er... I meant to say... over hangs! While my co-workers in New York are talking over Facebook about 30 degrees and cold this week, (very strange,) I'm in my boxers with the fan blowing here in Portland, and we're talking about the start of a notorious summer. I predict Hot and Dry, with the good news being a very low humidity through the worst of it.

The Vermont Street Project is designed without air conditioning, and here's the multi-tiered defense against nasty overheating: High-reflectivity coated, light colored metal roofing, plenty of operable windows and doors for cross ventilation, efficient and low-heat producing lighting where possible, low-emissivity coatings on the window glass that are tuned for each elevation to control solar gain, good insulation which works to minimize winter heat loss AND summer heat gain, and REALLY LARGE OVERHANGS!

Ever since Edward Mazria wrote the first serious solar book I ever read, in about 1980 or so, (I saw it YESTERDAY FOR GOD'S SAKE while looking for books on rain water harvesting - poor pickings - at Powell's Books! What are we talking about, edition number 20?), the importance of correct and large overhangs has been stressed. ('Water always wins." as quoted in the soon to be published, Too Many Orpin-isms, The Book of JO Quotes.) Primarily they are to KEEP THE DANG WATER AWAY FROM THE FOUNDATION AND SIDEWALLS! Thank you I feel better now. But right behind is their role in shading, as illustrated by this excellent diagram, above. Keep the summer sun out and let the winter sun, which is lower in the sky on the south side, in.

We've got our overhangs built, at last. They've defined the home's edges, and thereby both taking away a bit of the mystery while solving lingering questions of final form, shadow and the sun's direct gain. We can stop pretending that our computer modeling has more to teach us than a field trip. In a climate with lots of rain in the oyster-harvesting months and lots of summer sun, I'm high on my overhangs.

BUT I'm not complacent. We've also got a daylit basement library saddled with the extra duties of guest bedroom and what I've been taken to calling our summer sleeping retreat. More on this in an upcoming entry titled, "Why I placed a secret door to the wine cellar off of our library and quite near the ping pong table." Catchy?