Contractor Matt Risinger knows what it's like to build in hot places – he is based in Austin, Texas, where in summer a poorly-built attic can go up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
He offers four tips that will help homes stay cool and use up less energy. This includes using light colored roofs, building tight to make sure hot air doesn’t leak in, and choosing doors and windows wisely.
Finally, something that holds particularly true in Southern and Western states is the importance of running HVAC ducts inside the home’s envelope. Unlike most homes in the north, which have basements, houses in the South are usually built on slabs or pier-and-beam foundations, so ducts run in the attics or crawlspaces. “This is a terrible place for your ductwork!” Risinger writes.