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The Mighty Ducts

Houston’s summers are almost unbearable, as anyone who’s ever experienced its humidity and relentless sun can attest.

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Few would even consider a place without air-conditioning, so Matt devised a plan to help reduce the need for artificial cooling.

The centerpiece of his solution is a technology he calls Sun-Flow. Based on the idea that “the majority of cooling that houses do is to fight heat coming in through the attic,” he explains, he increased the size of the cavities in the roof rafters to move more air through them. Each cavity has access to a large vent, and as temperatures rise, the hot air vents out through a series of airshafts and channels. As a final step when it really gets hot, rooftop solar panels power up fans that attach to the sides of the houses, and blow air out of the attic whenever the sun makes an appearance.

The result is that hot air never makes its unwelcome way into the house, so there’s significantly less need to crank up the air conditioner.

  • Houston developers Tina and Matt Ford made being green as easy as keeping their ducts in a row.

    Houston, We've Solved a Problem

    A bird flying over Houston, Texas, sees only a sprawling canopy of trees. It seems the perfect nesting place for creatures both avian and human alike; unfortunately, the green ends at the tree line. All of those leafy branches shade a city that appears to care little for sustainable design, with cars that chug gas by the low-mileage gallon and oversized houses that dominate the persistently expanding cityscape.

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