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
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.
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.
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.
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.