Florida Living
Florida: Worldwide Destination for Fun in the Sun
Well, it's no secret that Florida is a mecca for tourism. But did you know that about 900 people a day, actually move to Florida to live? As the second fastest growing state nationwide, behind Texas, Florida remains the 3rd most populous state overall, behind California and Texas. That's over a million people more, than the state of New York. With that said, citizens who were born and raised here, the droves of retirees, snowbirds who finally flew the coop, and all the rest of us, have come to learn that Florida has it's challenges in finding the right combination for comfortable living. The recipe may be different from one region to another and some challenges may be recurring, but despite it all, we sure love our state, dont we? This section of our website is fully dedicated to living wisely and comfortably in the Sunshine State of Florida.
Some Hot Ideas to Keep You Cool

While a little ray of sunshine never hurt anyone . . . well, not anyone who wasn't allergic to it, we still should be mindful of protecting our home's finishes and furnishings from it. Like human skin, the touches that beautify our homes, can also peel, crack, burn, blister, and become discolored. Particularly, if you live in a climate like we have here in sunny Florida. It's not just the sunshine that wreaks havoc, but also the solar heat buildup that can pack a disasterous punch like fading the colors of our artwork, floors, drapes, and other valuable and much loved surfaces and home decor. Steering clear of turning your house into a cave-like existence that racks up hefty electricity bills for lighting and monsterous cooling bills for air conditioning, while windows are locked down tight, can be quite challenging.

The great news is that is doesn't have to be that way and yes, you can go beyond the traditional look of awnings and pergolas. While newly built houses have an advantage of incorporating solutions into their design from the ground up, existing homes can resolve these issues with a little creativity and ingenuity. And no, that doesn't mean it has to be ugly or clunky. Best of all, some aren't in any way, disruptive to the beautiful views you may have outside.

One of the most effective methods of keeping a house cool is to be proactive. Stop the heat from building in the first place. The primary source of the build-up is absorption into the house through windows, walls, and the roof. Most everyone loves a house full of natural light pouring in. For many, it's the reason why they choose to buy one house over another. But let's not allow this heat and sunlight issue to overshadow what we love. Since a large percentage of unwanted heat in the home comes through the windows, let's tackle them first. Here are some terrific, innovative ways of keeping your cool when the heat the is on, with sleek cover-ups and other shady stuff.
Films Aren't Just for Hollywood
Let's begin with one of the least expensive counter-attacks against excessive heat and light in your home, that you can actually do yourself, if you're feeling a bit adventurous. Some brands of reflective solar window film can be purchased at the major home improvement retailers and others, through specialized retailers. What's even better, is that these films can reduce the heat absorption through your home's windows by up to 74%. These window films are available for a variety of applications such as heat and glare control, UV blocking, a reduction in fading our fine home fabrics and flooring, and also as one-way mirrors, if you have a need for such stealth. There's even a ceramic window film that our coastal Floridians could certainly benefit from, because it's made to stand up to salt deposits and sea air. Avid DIYers . . . window films have got you covered.
Lights! Camera! Action...Roll 'em!
We all know and love that Florida has some the most amazingly picturesque views. Those of us who have such fabulous views from the windows of our homes, certainly don't want to block out that beauty. But keep in mind, that motorized retractable solar screens don't have to be engaged all at once. Roll down the ones you need to and keep up the ones you want to. Available in a variety of colors, styles, fabrics, and reflectiveness, solar screens and shades offer gentle filtering and diffusing of light, which reduces room temperatures to make your home more comfortable, as well as reduces glare on your televisions and other electronic devices. This way, you can still let in the natural light, but just less of it. With UV blocking up to 95%, these retractable solutions are definitely worth considering. They're also great for use on porches and patios too. Like this idea? Then why not roll with it?
The Upside of the Sheltered Life
One of the best ways to keep the sun's power from overheating your house, is to beat it to the punch. Stop it before it reaches your windows and turns the entire house into a sauna. Say it with me now, "brise-soleil" (bree so-LAY). Good job. Now, what is it you ask? Well, translated, means, "sun block" and it is an architectural sunscreen, usually made of thin wood or metal slats, which are installed on the exterior of the house to block out the sun's rays, giving a shelter-like effect. The slats, are of course, adjustable and louvres can run either vertically or horizontally. Open slats and elaborate filigree-style suncreens, cast eye-catching patterns on surrounding and ground surfaces. Brise-soleil looks particularly striking when paired with more contemporary structures with large windows. Living in the shadows may be just what's needed to fully enjoy your Floridian home.

On Again, Off Again Romance
The ultimate in protection from solar heat and light without compromising styling with heavy curtains and without obstructing the awesome views outside, is known in generic terms as smart glass, switchable privacy glass, or dynamic glass. This innovative glass changes from transparent to opaque in a second or less and some manufacturers include several levels of tint in between. With up to 99% blockage of harmful UV rays, this is a fantastic way to control light, heat, and privacy with the touch of a remote, wall panel, or in some cases, a smartphone. Or, it can automatically adjust when a preset time is reached, a certain lighting condition exists, or a specific time of day approaches. So versatile, smart glass can be installed during new builds and smart film to existing windows and light penetrating doors and skylights. The perfect solution when you'd love full exposure and also . . . when you don't.
Roof: A Coat for Hot Days?
About a third of unwanted heat that builds up comes through the roof, which is hard to control with traditional roofing materials. On a hot, sunny day, the surface temperature of a traditional roof can reach between 50-90°F higher, than the surrounding air temperature. Roofing materials are rated on scales of 0 to 1 for both solar reflectance and emissivity (released absorbed heat), with 1 being the coolest. Some reflective, water-proof coatings can be made from white latex or even glass fibers and aluminum particles. But pros can apply in other ways too, by using metal, bitumen fabric, reflective granules/gravel, tile, and more. The type of roof you have is important in making a proper selection because some roof cooling applications are specifically for flat or low-sloping roofs while others are made especially for steep, high-sloping rooftops. Check out what could be on the horizon for the future of roof cooling.
What's Hot is Often Cool
This one might sound like a no-brainer to some, but just as dressing yourself in light colors can keep you cooler than dark colors, the same holds true for exterior paint and siding colors for your home. Dark-color exteriors absorb 70-90% of the sun's rays which collects in walls and ceilings. Creamy beiges, pale yellows, soft peaches, light putties, and classic off-white exteriors are very popular in the state of Florida. Many, probably choose such colors for their light and airy, fresh and beachy feels. But houses with such exterior colors reflect more of the suns rays, which typically, gives a cooler feeling to the interiors of the homes. A house's directional position as well as number and location of windows, outside foliage, and many other determining factors also play a role. Even so, lighter is better in the Sunshine State. So save the darker colors for trims, shutters, and other contrasting accents.
Made on