Siting an addition for maximum passive solar heating is a nearly cost-free way to warm it up. And when the summer's dog days roll around, don't underestimate the cooling effect of overhangs, awnings, and well-placed trees. As we've demonstrated many times at project houses—such as the 1999 Key West house—when you're installing new windows, opt for high-efficiency models that let in plenty of light without allowing heat to build up inside.
"We've seen paint come a long way over the years. Today's low-VOC versions can cover in one coat—even dark colors."
—Norm Abram, TOH Master Carpenter