Solar House Concepts

The best time to plan a solar house is befor its built... HOWEVER there are always oportunities for retrofit improvements. Here are some basic solar heating concepts:

What is a Solar House?
Some people say it's a home with lots of skylights. Other people say it's a house with lots of south facing windows. Unfortunately these definitions ignore heat losses through the windows and skylights. A more acceptable definition should include the energy contribution from sunlight. Today the generally acceped definition of a solar home requires the energy contribution from sunlight to be at least 50%.

Did you know average US home owners consume over 1000 gallons of #2 fuel oil every year? Fortunately this wasteful heat energy consumption can be greatly reeduced by optomizing: solar heat gain, heat insulation and heat storage. PV grid tied installations are also important.

The best choice for a solar home design depends on locationas well as personal taste. "One man's trash is another man's tresure." My model B home (to the left) may have great potential for some home owners, but it may not be practical for others. It's heated with a solar greenhouse that pump rising greenhouse air into the living quartes. The lifing quarters store heat directly.

Unfortunately there are so many south facing windows on this house that most of the heat gained during the day is lost at night. This five bedroom house with a detached16'x40' workshop may not be suitable for some people but it may be just what the doctor ordered for a carpenters in the right location.



OUNDATIONS provide platforms for construction. While I was preparing the foundation for my first house an old farmer told me:  "A house is only as good as it's foundation." His advice made sense so I am passing it on to you. Plan a solid, well insulated foundation with solid insulation on the outside. If you're building your house on a slab you might also  insulate the slab from the ground.  Don't forget the reinforcing mesh and PEX tubes for radiant floor heating.

If you have a full basement it's more important to insulate the foundation walls than the basement floor.





Many archetecs believe the three most important ingredients of a practical solar home are:
1. insulation
2. insulation
3. insulation.

Insulation is needed to trap heat within a house, but there are still other factors.


HYDRONIC COLLECTORS There are a variety of DIY and comercially available water type collectors to choose from.


Collectors that use air to transfer heat never have problems with leaks, but air heat transfer systems are not as efficient as water heat transfer systems.


 Isolating the solar heated water from the conventional water heating system is best. If the fossil fuel water heater is used to store solar heated water differential controllers will get mixed signals and SDHW benifits will be minimal.









OR you can alwass invest in photovoltaics




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