Cool Without AC: Dewees Island House Featured in Mother Earth News

Vacation home by Whitney Powers, AIA, one of three projects selected.

May 24, 2011 (Charleston, SC) – A sustainable beach house on Dewees Island, SC,

The Yost House, designed by architect Whitney Powers, AIA

designed by Whitney Powers, AIA, of Studio A, Inc., in Charleston, is one of three

houses selected by Robyn Griggs Lawrence whose blog “Natural Home & Garden” is carried in Mother Earth News to demonstrate successful “passive cooling” without air conditioning.

“Over the years, I’ve been in enough naturally cooled homes—in brutally hot and humid climates—to know that passive cooling works,” Griggs Lawrence writes. She visited the house Powers designed for Rives and Walter Yost to experience the effect herself.

Powers’ two-level, 2700-square-foot Yost house features eight screened porches, an abundance of French doors and sash windows, high ceilings, and ceiling fans to facilitate natural ventilation.

“We didn’t come all the way from Pittsburgh to close the windows and doors,” Mrs. Yost told Griggs Lawrence.

A view from the kitchen through the living area and out to the porch and trees.

The ventilation system Powers designed pulls air in through the windows on the lower floors and up through the house to windows located beneath the gables. Reflective window coatings deflect the sun and reduce solar heat gain. Screened-in sleeping porches also provide naturally cool places to rest.

“The Yost house is designed for indoor/outdoor living, with porches on the front, back, and corners of the house that provide outdoor living space and permit windows and doors to be left open for constant access to island breezes and the sound of birds, rustling trees, and crashing waves,” the article states.

The article also spotlights a small co-housing unit in Carrboro, NC, by architect Giles Blunden, and an oceanfront home in Florida’s Upper Matecumbe Key by Jersey Devil Design/Build for their passive cooling systems.

Griggs Lawrence calls passive cooling “a fast-growing trend that’s not likely to go away soon.” To read the entire article, go to

For more information on Whitney Powers, AIA, and to see more of her sustainable residential designs, visit

About Whitney Powers, AIA:

Whitney Powers, AIA, LEED AP, founded Studio A, Inc. in downtown Charleston, SC, in 1989, as a full-service architectural firm that proposes that the responsibility of architecture is to cultivate a language of form that promotes a sustainable culture and landscape, and that touches the emotions of delight, surprise and wonder. From cutting-edge contemporary architecture to the preservation and restoration of historic homes, structures and sites, Studio A is committed to an interactive relationship between the natural and built environments, conservation of energy and natural resources, and an appreciation for a “sense of place” where living, working and playing are connected with the specific idiosyncrasies of culture, climate and natural landscape where they take place. For more information visit

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