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#1 hillbilly

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:43 PM

Hi everybody .
Maybe not the same kind of techie question you might be used too here but I am looking for some input.
As part of a plan to shade cloth our roof we recently had a second story concrete palapa or concrete porch built. This will act as an anchor point .
This created a retreat area as it were to escape the lower level and catch the breeze . At our house the wind is only ten feet above ground and no breeze at street level. I am going to try to hang from this area a system of shade cloth,s suspended from a cable say from front to rear. This will look like the plant nursery at 25th and 5th where they shade the outdoor plants.
My question is this please. Will the shaded roof act to keep the house cooler as it will be in shade ,or will the ambient temperature raise the block construction mass of the walls anyway and make the house hot anyway? This is referred too as a fly roof as you can imagine as it essentially flys above the roof.
It is not too late too give up and add solar panels so that I can afford to just run the mini split a few hours in the afternoon and cool it down. We did that the other evening and after we shut it down it went back to being warm again shortly after.
House faces somewhat north east by north so the sun goes about straight over the top in the summer. On 25th between 19 and 21 for those who know the area and orientation.
Ideas anyone?
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#2 Charles

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:47 PM

Hillbilly, your house is the old style construction; solid cement, roof, walls to foundation? Should we call it oven construction? We had a rental house that looked like it could be great for ventilation, access to breezes and with hope (prayers) of possible cooling off in the evening. Wrong! With minimal alterations, we could have modified the house to turn it into a brick oven bread bakery or a Swedish sauna. This could serve as an example of people experienced with living on the island, (was my fourth residence, my wife's 12th? rental) that it is so difficult to judge just how living conditions will be.

Half of the house, the northern exposure, had wall to wall windows. Won't that be great to open everything up to dissipate the heat after dark, who cares about the clouds of micro particle dust that will ride the wind. Our main bedroom had a single window that had the property wall blocking it. It came with a powerful window style air conditioner that had two settings, frigid and off. The AC unit quickly cooled off room temperature to about 62F/16C. If we weren't in bed under the covers, finally able to use the wool blanket from Chiapas, you needed to wear a sweater.

Our idea was to run the AC to cool off the room and then coast along with the ceiling and floor fans. Wrong. After turning off the AC, we were sweating bullets in less than four minutes. We tried running the AC for a couple of hours, then testing after 4,6 or 8 hours with the same results. The cement roof and concrete block walls retained enough heat to quickly return room temp to about 88F degrees with humidity about 110%. The big room, the living, dining room and kitchen with all the windows open, three ceiling fans plus two other fans, summer time (April to October), the temperature would only drop below 90F in the early morning hours, right before sunrise.

I believe Traveler redid some of his roof utilizing the modern construction materials with Styrofoam. I have experienced assorted roof, heat shielding coatings with minimal benefit. The new, modern materials have become more of the norm, a gradual increase in use the last ten years. I was amazed the first time I felt a new material wall, it actually felt cool to the touch during the worst, direct afternoon sun. With the new materials you might consider it an investment as your CFE bills would be greatly reduced. The materials used can make a change from needing AC 12 hours a day and still suffering to almost nil need for AC. Until you have experienced it, it is hard to imagine summertime heat. The downtown area is especially bad from the amount of construction, the cement and pavement all serve as heat traps. Of the locations I have experienced it, it was most obvious in Phoenix. The downtown area would be 20 plus degrees hotter than the edge of town. Cozumel's official weather station temperature reports at the airport are deceptive as to what the downtown area may be experiencing. A classic true story of heat, a friend had a bowl of eggs on her table a few days. When she tried to crack them for cooking, they were well done, naturally hard boiled without using any water!

See what you might could do with different materials as a barrier. What you spend will be offset by CFE savings, but what I hate about electric bills, they can be expensive and still involve suffering. It seems if it costs so much, you deserve to be comfortable.
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#3 morenita

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

No solution is ever perfect. The "new" types of construction using polystyrene are a paradise for ants. Google ants and foam or ants and polystyrene or EIFS and ants or ants and ICF's and you will see this can be a huge problem. Seems this was an unanticipated problem. The little critters seem to love it for nesting. And once they establish a nest it is nearly impossible to get rid of them. In a previous thread I was a big advocate for using this type of construction. But with this potential problem I am now a skeptic and looking for other options when I decide to build in a few years. I have seen this problem already in several homes in Cozumel with this type of construction. A friend had to tear out an entire section of his ceiling because the area was full of ants. You can't get inside to eliminate them. The area has to be completely torn out to be treated. Just saying to check and really do your research before going this way. I was a huge fan at one time. Now not so much. Ants like a material for nesting that is not to hard. This is why they like wet and rotting wood. Turns out they love the new products even more. I was talking to a friend who is an entomologist and he confirmed that YES they do love foam for nesting and it can be a real problem. So you may have a really cool house but also an ant farm. It would be worth doing the research first. I would be interested in anyone else who has experienced this problem. If you have a foam ceiling remove a light fixture and check to see if there is a problem. If it is a house that is only a few years old you may not notice it as it can take many years for an infestation. The house in Cozumel where I have seen it was built about ten years ago with the polystyrene wall system and ceiling. The ceiling was so full of ants a large section had to be removed and it turned out to be a huge job.

These products are only new to Cozumel and this area. They have been used for many years in the U.S. But here really only in the last ten years as Charles mentioned. When my friend here in Cozumel built a house with this foam type walls and roof he had to go to Toluca for it because no where even close to Cozumel had heard of it. Now he regrets it. He said it was the worst thing he had ever seen in construction and the repairs have been very expensive. But this technology has been around for more than 40 years. And spray foam insulation has been used for many years. I have found articles concerning ants and spray foam insulation in the U.S. Turns out the type of foam does not matter. They just love tunneling and nesting in the material because it is the perfect density, just like rotting wood. If they start in one area of your house and the nest gets to large they will go out and start a new one. So beware if you do decide to build with this type of product. You may solve one problem with the heat but have an entire new problem.

Some of these "foam" type products are treated with Borax. But from what I have read it is not very effective. Maybe they develop a tolerance or the treatment wears off which is why it may take many years for infestations to appear. I am not really sure. But anyway I have moved from being a huge fan to the not right now without allot more research camp. For now I will continue to look for other ways of economically dealing with the heat. Maybe I would consider some kind of external insulation that could be applied to block walls so if a problem developed it could be removed without affecting the structure Same with the roof. Or some kind of heat reflective material or reflective paint or reflective sealant. But no polystyrene walls and ceilings for now.

The best design would be a "dynamic blanket" style home or a home that cools by design. But that gets a little complicated here with out a sotano, sorry don't remember the English word. But something similar but not as deep to pull naturally cooled air and by exhausting hot air through the highest point. Naturally getting rid of the hottest air and replacing it with cool air. There is a house here in Cozumel with a sotano. I would like to see how that works. The only real expense is the excavation and if there is a water table issue. But there are other designs as well to cool a home with natural air flow.

Regarding fans the best is exhaust fans at the highest point to exhaust the hot air. A ceiling fan, even though you may feel cooler directly under it, will actually raise the temperature in your house at the level where you live because they push the hot air from the ceiling down to the living area.

Hillbilly anything that shades the concrete roof that is part of the living structure but remains open for ventilation should most definitely keep your home cooler. Anything to keep your concrete roof from absorbing and dissipating the heat is a good idea. But the design is important. A covered open air roof top terrace would be a big help. In Europe living roofs are getting very popular to keep homes cool in the summer.
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#4 Charles

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:44 PM

Good post or interesting food for thought, Morenita. The bottom line is you are going to die eventually. If you do enough research, you can make an informed decision about what you think is best. Of course it may be wrong for other reasons. You're often rolling dice. Some people prefer to flip a coin, heads I win, tails you lose. Some people seek answers in reading tea leaves. Personally, I prefer the more scientific and official ways to reach a decision, reading chicken entrails!

You're dealing with extreme conditions and circumstances, whether it is the weather or insects. Few people really have experience with the intensity of the heat or for that matter the ants or everything in the tropical environment. There are a lot of aspects to living on the island that just wouldn't have been significant in people's former lives. When choosing an apartment rental or a site and design of a house, seemingly minor differences could well make a difference of $1,000 or much more annually. If you then factor that cost times ten or twenty years and you start to talk about real money!

If you want to talk about sun intensity and heat, let's go to Sonora of Chihuahua. In this desert environment, roof coatings are critical, not just for human comfort, but for preventing the destructive force of the intense sunlight. Alamos Sonora has many restored historic colonial haciendas. One home owner who happened to work for 3M which manufactured assorted coatings, his roof was a checkerboard of 3X3 meter squares of different formulations. He went so far as to ship home bags of cement, the river sand and gravel mixed to form the cement. Of all the different brands and formulas tested, most might survive 2-3 years when the life expectancy estimation was 5-10 years. The goal was to customize a special order that would perform where all others failed.

Way back when, deluxe shower massage heads were common on the island. Of course almost everyone had gravity fed roof top tinacos. Pressurized water systems were one out of a thousand. Seeing assorted miracle products advertised on TV, an asterisk seemed merited, **results may vary if used in Cozumel Mexico. Mexico has caught up with most of the world in the last ten years. Cozumel has mostly caught up with the rest of Mexico where the island seemed to lag about 10-25 years behind.
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#5 morenita

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

Shower massage heads. LOL. Many shower fixtures sold in the U. S. will not work without a pressure system as you have correctly pointed out. I got a good laugh from that one Charles. But if you want to see how well done the plumbing is in an older home install a pressure pump and wait for water to start spraying. Before doing so to see if you home can handle it you can drain your water lines and test with air first. I know what you are talking about in Sonora. Unbearable.

You are right Charles. And many problems are as we say in spanish insoslayable. But in this day with the internet you can find information on anything. The difficult part is deciding what is good information and what is not. But in the end you can only give people the information and they will make their own decisions.
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#6 Carey

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

'Mexico has caught up with most of the world in the last ten years. Cozumel has mostly caught up with the rest of Mexico where the island seemed to lag about 10-25 years behind. "

Charles, this is part of the charm and part of the burden of living here.
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#7 GringaErin

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:13 PM

The products explained here: http://www.trustedho..._NewAgeProducts

This would be ideal for the environment here. But, alas, it is not available in Mexico (yet). I put a request in, so maybe it will be available in another 5-7 years when my house needs to be repainted. :)
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#8 morenita

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:25 PM

The products explained here: http://www.trustedho..._NewAgeProducts

This would be ideal for the environment here. But, alas, it is not available in Mexico (yet). I put a request in, so maybe it will be available in another 5-7 years when my house needs to be repainted. :)


I like it. Might be a very good alternative. Any combination of reflective material with air flow and good ventilation would be a good idea. The trick is to prevent the concrete from heating up. The old style houses with tile roofs worked well. The clay does not heat up like concrete and allowed air flow to dissipate the heat. But this has become more rare here in Cozumel. The clay because of the baking process made it harder. And that makes them less conductive. Marble is actually very good. But who could afford it.
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#9 nauticab

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:04 AM

we built our home over 4 years ago, all exterior walls and the downstairs interior walls using insulated concrete forms. we were the first home built this way. not many have been built ever since, probably due to the amount of cement needed to built it compared to block. it does cost a bit more to build. however, with 400 peso average power bills (every 2 months), ceiling fans used in the evenings, sometimes, and having to use blankets even in the dead heat of august and september WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING, is pretty darn fine. it has paid for itself simply through our low power bills and high comfort level.
when the house was first built, we had termite prevention treatment done, which also included ants and other unwanted pests. it was done so going about 6 to 12 inches deep along the entire foundation as well as the trees. perhaps the reason why we have no ant problem....nothing more than your typical ants when food is left out.

we even have false wooden beams (zapote wood, hard as steel) and no problems. i think the initial termite treatment plays an important role. also, many ICF and and termite studies were with homes with basements using the material, or simply using ICFs in the foundation. our foundation is the typical cimientacion sobre laja (bg rocks and cement over bedrock).
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#10 morenita

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 12:46 AM

I am not posting to start an argument. I am not an entomologist but I have a good friend who is. And it was confirmed that this is a problem. There are at least an estimated one million ants for every person on the planet. So if they decide to make your walls a home you will not know anything about it until the damage has been done and it is to late to do anything about it. No surprise you would not have a problem with hard dry woods because ants do not like it. To my knowledge they do not eat wood because they can't digest it. But love to nest in soft wet and rotting wood. Not dry hard woods. You were definitely not the first to build like this. I have a friend who built this way over ten years ago and using the same cimentacion (I think you meant cimentacion not cimientacion. It is cimentacion and cimientos) o mamposteria piedra as you did. Walls on top of a cadena de desplante sobre el cimentacion off the ground at least a foot. This was before anyone any way near Cozumel had ever heard of them. He had to go to Toluca to get them. It is almost the exact same as what is sold here now , the ABC I believe it is. And I know several houses that have used it in the last four years. If ants can find their way inside your home to find food they can find a way inside your walls. You could have a problem and if you did you would not know. It took ten years for my friend to realize the problem. All I can say is suerte. I hope you never have a problem. I am not posting to argue just to provide good information and people can decide for themselves. I appreciate the savings you get and I was once a huge fan of this product. But would not use it now until I could be 100% assured this would not be a problem. And the studies are not just on the type of construction you describe. There have been many documented problems when it has only been used in ceilings three meters above ground. This is a problem. I have seen it myself in several house in Cozumel and saw it in my friends home. For ten years he never knew he had a problem. But if you saw the damage after they tore the roof off you would know it had been going on for many years. And the problem is not just with basements. It is documented with homes that only have it on the roof or exterior insulation above ground or homes using the insulated concrete forms ICF's, spray foam insulation. synthetic stucco, etc. Apparently the type of "foam" does not matter. I use that term generically to describe all types of products and polystyrene. They seem to really love it for nesting because of its density. From what I have read they prefer it to even soft rotting wood. They can chew through huge sections of walls causing thousands of dollars of damage. If you have a problem you will probably not know for many years. In most cases there is no way to detect it early. Because they love to nest and tunnel inside walls undetected (for years) to get to their food sources. So if you see stray ants inside your home looking for food you could have entire colonies inside your wall. And if you do you will not know it. This is why you will see ants coming out of switches or outlets or cracks or around windows in a concrete wall. Because they like to nest and travel undetected inside walls to get to a food source. You will only see them exit when they find a food source. And dry wood ants like we have here can fly to a source and start a colony. Which makes peticides and treatments much less effective. So it is impossible for you to say definitively you do not have an ant problem. You would not know if you do. Not like visible wood where it is obvious. They will remain undetected in ICF's for years. So I hope you do not have a problem, but I would be always checking inside the walls any place I could. All outlets, switches, every light fixture, chalupas, registros, any where I possibly could. No amount of treatment apparently matters because they will enter through conduit, outlets, switches, light fixtures, and other areas until they find a place to start nesting. And I never mentioned termites. Apparently they are not as big of a problem with foam type walls or roofs in this area as they are in other parts. But I would need to check more on that.

Bottom line this type of product is one of the best ways to insulate your home here where we have hurricanes and keep it cool. But for now it is not worth the risk of having a home infested with ants and not knowing about it until after the damge has been done. And it is a problem. You can google it regarding this style of construction and you will see. But for me all I had to do is see it with my own eyes. It does not seem to make a difference what type of material the roof is either, polystyrene, caseton o bovedilla de poliestireno or many refer to as styrofoam or nieve seca. All are the same.

Believe me I would love for you to prove me wrong because I have always really liked ICF's and bovedillas de poliestireno. But I have seen the problems here in Cozumel with my own eyes.
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#11 hillbilly

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 01:36 AM

Funny about the oven thing Charles. We will do the roof covering thing, too late for newer type construction methods. We have used a roof coating, white only which did not do too much.
The best method we have seen is an engineer friend of ours built his house with two raised areas on the roof to collect and vent out the hot air. All his exterior walls have an overhang and a wrap around type porch to create a cooler air right next to the house. Works real well as he had built a house in Saudi Arabia when stationed there and had some pretty good knowledge of how to cool off a house in a hot area.
I believe we will also install an exhaust fan in a high up area to pull the heat out of the house. Thanks Morentia, you do your research I must say.We have enough problems with ants thank you very much,currently they are in remission .
We are currently in process to build as a cheap method a shade system to cover the roof, will report back. I would give my right one to use a blanket to sleep underneath every night but I fear it is not to be.
Thanks everybody
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#12 morenita

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 01:48 AM

What you are talking about will work very well. Covered open air roof top terraces with overhangs shading the area below are very effective. Your engineer friend definitely knows what he is talking about. I would follow his advise. Very good idea. There are newer coatings that are supposed to be much more reflective and very effective. Don't know about the availability here.

I did the research because I had always planned to build using this type of product. But after I saw the ant problems in several houses here that are about ten years old and less I decided to look into it. And I discovered the problem is bigger than I thought. I will continue to do my research. People have been keeping their dwellings cool all over the world and for centuries before Polystyrene was invented using many different types of construction. My guess is maybe some older and well tested methods for hundreds of years might be a better idea than using something that has only been used in construction for forty years and already has a list of associated problems. Once a big fan but now a skeptic. I will continue my search. Living roofs have been used for hundreds of years. But now with different types of membranes even more practical. There are many more really good ideas. And designs to cool your home naturally by allowing cool air to flow through the house. I like the idea of pulling cool air from under the ground. But if your home is allready built. The things you are talking about are very good ideas. Shading the roof. Reflective coatings, and good ventilation.
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#13 Carey

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:05 AM

I will add here my small modicum of personal experience on this subject. We have an old fashioned structured cement 'oven' house built 14 years ago before what Nauticab used was ever available here. (Envy much?)

We had a very large, overhanging, high roof palapa on a second story terrace completely shading a first story building. Very hot room. Removed the palapa two weeks ago due to rot and etc and I am not noticing it is any hotter at all in that room. Didn't seem to have any effect. The walls rise to the ambient temperature of the air and then hold that heat for quite awhile after the air has cooled down in the evening.

Only things I've found that work: Build another story on top of the room you want to keep chill. Ja Ja. Not practicaly, I know, but all our first story rooms with a story overhead are noticeably cooler.

Get that cross ventilation going! I cannot recommend highly enough the vornado air circulators. They really really work and I think they can be ordered to Mexico via amazon global. I have one in almost every room. I use it to circulate the trade winds in appropriate cases -- putting it in an open east facing doorway or window to push the air into the house. And I am able to really cut down on how low I set the AC when I'm using it by placing one of these babies over near the AC unit so that it mixes and circulates the cool air throughout the room. Using that method in that above mentioned hot bedroom, I am able to set the unit to 25 and feel comfortably cool. Without the vornado, I was having to turn it down to 22 to bring the coolness down on the other side of the room from the AC where I would be working at a desk.
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#14 mslf500

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:09 AM

Keeping a house cool via solar shading isn't rocket science. While in architecture school I took a year of solar engineering that covered passive heating and passive cooling.

Anytime you can block the sun from hitting your walls, you will be cooler. So, what you need to do if you are not using AC are ways to cool the inside when it is cool outside, then you need to trap that cool air in the house.

I the 1890's house I live in now, we have solid brick walls. In the early summer and late summers, we run a whole house fan at night. It brings in cool air and creates a draft. In the AM, we close the windows and turn off the fan. The house stays cool all day long.

Another thing I did was change the color of my roof from a red painted standing seam roof to one that is painted silver (aluminum paint). The surface temperatures are 30-40 degrees cooler than when it was red. This works better than a white roof and aluminum paint goes on like water so it is easy to install.

As far as passive cooling, if you don't want to use fans, then you need to consider wind stacks (chimneys) that will create a draft through convection and utilize the wind. Look up passive cooling techniques and you will find a lot of articles.

For the ants, use Terro. They take the bait back to the nest and it kills the queen. Works like a charm.
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#15 morenita

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:11 PM

Thanks for your post. I have looked into the passive cooling techniques you referred to. And also what was referred to as a "dynamic blanket" design in a friends architectural textbook from the U.S. That was what I was talking about with the sotano to draw cool air from the ground and naturally exhaust hot air at the peak of the house. That was why for a current home I suggest an exhaust fan at the highest point of the ceiling rather than ceiling fans that force the hot air down. There are some very good ideas that can be used here to passively cool a home and can be used in your construction. There are many different designs. Many very good ones that can be used here. I am by far no expert and I am sure mslf500 could give many more and better ideas. So mslf if you have any books that you could recommend or specific place to go on the internet to look I would be forever grateful. I have pretty much decided I will build a passively cooled home with some way of drawing cool air from underground. But if you have some good ideas I would love to hear them.

I have also seen different reflective paints and sealants. One reflective waterproofing material I was looking at that is for sale in Merida is not silver colored but has silver particles that they claim reflects most all the sun. Of course I would research their claims before buying it and applying it. I have seen the aluminum paint also but in the U.S. Do you know of an aluminum paint sold here. I was looking for something to waterproof and reflect at the same time. Which was what I liked about the one product I saw. But if you have any ideas please share.

Good luck killing all the ants. And you would not want to do that. They serve a useful purpose. I don't think locals really freak out over them like some do. We live with them. They do provide beneficial functions. I don't want to kill them and the queens I just don't want them chewing up my home. We actually need ants. And you are not going to get rid of them by the millions. And if you could it would not be a good thing. Ants are good, very good. Just like zopilotes, spiders and mosquito's ( some eat the larvae of the dengue mosquito). I personally do not like the idea of using poison that will be taken back to the colony to kill the queen is a good idea. We should not be killing or poisoning ants. They prevent the spread of disease and serve so many useful purposes and are a food source for other reptiles, birds and animals. I try to not use poisons. The best way to get rid of ants is a clean house. But they are good for the planet. And we do not need to be poisoning and killing them if it is not necessary. They treat the soil and like bee's polinate plants and hundreds of other very good things.

Of course there are times that pest control is necessary. I am just saying that to remember most all things serve some beneficial purpose and when you do need to use a poison decide if it is really necessary or can you deal with the problem in another way. I rarely have ants in my house unless it is to haul off a dead bug which I don't mind. I keep my house clean, allways clean off counters, wipe up all crumbs and never leave food out. Everything goes in the refrigerator or air tight containers, or reusable bags. But ants are really good for many reasons.

I think it is ironic that people who talk about "natural" medicines will then use poisons and pesticides. I am not saying that sometimes certain measures are not necessary. But they should be used with great care and in consideration of the rest of the eco system.

And covered open air terraces if designed well and with the right materials can work very well with excellent results. Sounds like hillbilly has a very good consultant.

Even though I was once a big fan of ICM's for now with some of the problems with them I will not go that way. But I do not recommend anyone taking my word for it or any one else s here only to make a decision. I just point out what I do know and encourage people to ask others and do their own research. If anyone is ever considering it I can show them pictures of the homes here in Cozumel that have had severe problems with ants in polystyrene products. I have a couple of other friends who were considering this method as well until they saw the problems with their own eyes. None of us want to go through what he did. He now regrets his decision. He did save alot of money on electric but now it was not worth it with all the damage in his home. These products were available 14 years ago you just had to look for them. They have been around in various forms for over 40 years. The first patent for Polystyrene ICM's was in the 1960's. There were polystyrene panels with plastic ties in between that came in large panels. And there were polystyrene blocks exactly the same size, shape and design as a concrete block. Looks identical just made of foam and they snapped together rather than use mortar. And others similar to the same type of the ABC that I have seen on the island over the last five years or so. They are now sold on the transversal. Before you had to go to Cancun for them. But this is not new. My friends house was built more than 10 years ago with another brand the same size and almost identical to ABC just more rigid and denser.

Thanks again mslf500 for your post. If you have any more good ideas please share. I would like to hear them. I definitely want to go passive cooling.

And Charles 25 years behind is just about right. They only recently stated selling concrete with fiber here in Cozumel.
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#16 2islandbums

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

Ok I was too lazy to read all the post I sure they had great info just too long for me, i am sure this is just a repeat.
But yes an awning like you discribed will change the temp of you house. example palm tree on the beach or not? shade is shade. plus it sounds like it would look great.
I spent 15 years in the awning business and have seen shade make all the difference.
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Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

Albert Einstein,

#17 nauticab

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:58 PM

people who have palapas, large trees in their lots, and wooden furniture, especially the rustic kind which is all over the place, would be foolish to NOT have termite and/or ant treatment for their homes. it was a 10yr treatment. the termite treatment also works on ants (and/or we have had inside treatments that take care of ants). i have followed the ant trails and they all go outside. some may be in my walls, but i have seen some pretty crappy cement and humidity problems, causing horrible health issues, in standard cinderblock construction as well.
yes, i read the ant reports. and they also said that in ground termite/ant prevention will help tremendously in preventing this. no need to get into the ground water topic here. sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
there are pluses and minuses to both. cinderblock and cement is cheaper. also hot as hell. having to run a/c, for me, causes nasal problems. a properly ventilated house, with the right windows in the right place and a lot built facing north, will make a huge difference no matter what the material used. sunken living rooms keep the rooms cooler, but all goes to hell when we get big rains.
if i see an ant problem inside, boric acid to send back to kill the queen(s). if they are outside, i will leave them be. there are many queens. just don't want them in my house. i toss tarantulas in the lot next door. i will kill a scorpion in my yard as it could hurt my kid, dogs, or cat. and yes, i use natural health care products.
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#18 mslf500

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:20 AM

I can't find the book I was lookig for to tell you the name of the one we had in college. The techniques are still the same, but the technology has changed to make it easier to control.

I googled "Passive Solar Cooling Books" and then clicked on images. Oddly, a lot of the imagery from this book in 1981 or so have been co-opted into other books. I think the author was Chiang or Chang.

This link might work for imagery. If you see something that works, click on the image.

http://www.google.co...SNoqs9ATWqoCgAw

Va Tech has won numerous awards for their solar and energy conservation desing projects. Here is what they are working on now.

http://www.solardeca...ginia_tech.html
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www.CozumelCondominium.com
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#19 morenita

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:56 AM

Thank you very much. I was thinking about some of these ideas. Mine was to use 4 inch pipes underground to bring in cool air and natural circulation to what they call a clear story lighting and ventilation at the ridge. What is your opinion? Would that work as well as the chimney idea or would I really need the chimney even up at a higher point to get rid of all the hot air? I had seen the chimney concept before but was hoping for using the clear story to go better with my design. Your opinions? I love palapas as long as they are on someone elses property. They look really nice when they are new and can be functional but not into the mess and maintenance.

And would you recommend an exhaust fan to aid the passive circualtion or would that give to fast of an air change to allow a passive ststem to work the best? Any ideas?
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#20 nauticab

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

Palapas made with guano instead of sacate lasts longer and makes no mess. Costs more. As long as you have the mesh they can last more than 15 yrs. In case of hurricane they take very little time to take down and the same guano can be used to put it back up. Sacate is dead grass and drips brown. Guano is a type of palm and drips clean and does not crumble.
Just fyi for those not aware of the diff and are looking into palapas as a option.
Maintenance.... aceite quemado once every few years on the beams.i dont care for varnished fir the same reason... the high maintenance.
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