Jan 24, 2012, 7:42 AM
Post #18 of 23
In what part of Merida are you expecting to live?
The area you live in plays a large role in your cooling needs, due to both home construction and design and the heat island that is Centro. Centro is just 1 mile from our home, but due to all the concrete roofs - connected row houses with no gaps between - and all the blacktop - no front yards and minimal greenery - make Centro temps a full 5 degrees higher than other adjacent parts of Merida. The heat island of Centro where Yucatandreamer lives is not representative of most of Merida, because all the near wall-to-wall concrete construction and blacktop also holds the heat long into the evenings and nights.
As you go north, temperatures typically drop as much as 10 degrees in more modern and green colonias and fraccionmentos. The old construction materials and old tenement row house designs of Centro homes, like Yucatandreamer's, almost forces them to live in their patios as they describe. The 14ft - 18ft high ceilings of old Centro homes trap the heat up in the top of the room - so air flowing through the windows down low does not flush out the heat, even at night. Then when Centro home owners run their ceiling fans, it pulls the hot air off the ceilings, making a light breeze which feels a bit nice but actually raises the room temperatures down where we walk, sit, & live - which forces some Centro residents out into their gardens or into the street.
Centro's 20 block by 30 block of solid tenement style building-joined-to-building solid blocks of homes with no gaps in between them also block cooling breezes vs the colonias and fraccionmentos north of Centro. If you have a 3'rd story patio in Centro, you can get nice breezes up there, but the air is mostly hot & stagnant at street level, even at night, because of the ultra-high-density construction.
Centro homes also have to deal with streets that have a lot more traffic than out in the Colonias, so, Centro-living expats keep their front doors and window closed tight to keep down the noise and bus exhaust. No natural breezes due to tenement style construction and closed windows and doors for no cross breezes keeps Centro homes much hotter during both days and nights.
If you drive around Centro in the evening, you see people hanging out in the street, which makes for conviviality, but demonstrates Centro's excess trapped heat that is not present in other parts of Merida. All the expats we hang out with outside Centro, and our family members all live indoors most of the time, because our newer style constructions, space between houses, lots of greenery and daily breezes, don't trap heat and hold heat like old colonial homes in Centro.
If you live north of Centro, in a home built in the last 40 years, your power bills will likely be much lower than Yucatandreamer's, due to these factors. We run computers all day, run a floor fan to circulate cool floor level air both all day and all night (vs circulating hot ceiling air with inefficient ceiling fans), run a big TV and satellite receiver to hear some English and track the business news all day, watch movies or sports at night, cook several meals daily, and aircondition one upstairs bedroom for several hours at bedtime (because upstairs rooms get hotter than 1'st floor rooms) - and our typical monthly bill is between $220 pesos and $300 pesos vs. Yucatandreamer's Centro home's $1,200 - $2,300 peso monthly bills.
$1,500 pesos a month in added energy costs for Centro translates to about $14,000 USD every 10 years. Centro homes cost less, but it means choosing a more energy intensive lifestyle - more A/C, a pool, fans, etc.
You mention that you have a local Yucatecan significant other, which means they likely do not live in Centro, because the locals recognize both the charm of Centro, but prefer the practicality of living outside Centro. Real estate prices in Centro are generally much cheaper though, because local Yucatecans realize these things and find Centro to be a less desirable place to live.
Different strokes for different folks.
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com
(This post was edited by YucaLandia on Jan 24, 2012, 8:16 AM)