How to Keep Cool in the Desert

by Guy Bennallack

The heat and humidity that are unique to the desert environment are at least two special concerns of desert home buyers and builders.

July is often the hottest month of the year in Las Vegas, where temperatures of 106 degrees Fahrenheit and average humidity between 24 and 28 percent are common. In contrast, the national average temperature and humidity at the same time of year are, respectively, 77 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent, meaning that Las Vegas certainly experiences some unique weather conditions.

Because of the low humidity, the environment itself does not hold that much heat, but the radiant energy from the sun heats homes and bodies. Homes in the desert have to be able to withstand sustained periods of extreme heat while allowing for a healthy dose of ventilation to keep interiors cool.

Because the humidity is so low in the desert, homes can utilize evaporative cooling systems. Evaporative coolers use a blower to force warm, dry air into a home through water-soaked pads, delivering cool air as the water evaporates. The effective use of water also comes into play when considering the exterior design of a home; by building water structures, an effect similar to evaporative cooling can be achieved as the water cools breezes coming into the area.

Guy Bennallack is the CEO of HBR, LLC, in Las Vegas, a residential and commercial developer. Since 1982, the company has constructed more than 2,000 homes and nearly 500,000 square feet of industrial and residential space.