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A Video Look at Our Passive Solar Home.

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Passive Solar Home

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Passive Solar HomeAugust 26, 2008

Our home was featured in an article in The Country Home Journal.

I suppose when some people think of a passive solar home and solar living they think of an unusual building with a lot of glass on one side. Although passive solar design does include a lot of windows on the South facing side in the Northern Hemisphere or North facing side in the Southern Hemisphere, a solar home doesn't have to look any different than any other. Most people probably have some room that has a sun facing window and notice how much solar energy in the form of heat is brought into the room from that window. Passive solar design just provides for a lot more rooms facing the sun.

Besides having many rooms facing the sun, there needs to be some thermal mass to store and radiate the heat during the evening and night. Our home is built on a concrete slab. Even with carpet installed over the slab, the heat from the sun transfers to the slab and radiates back out later. Brick walls around fireplaces and even the walls will absorb and radiate the heat for a little while. There are many other passive solar designs that incorporate having a brick wall or cylinders filled with water right in front of the window. We chose not to do this because of the extra time and effort and the odd look of using this approach.

Our house is insulated to the present standards with R-19 insulation in the walls and R-30 in the ceiling. The insulation keeps the heat in well. We have not taken all the steps to totally make our house airtight. Making sure of all the leaks around electrical outlets and the like can help hold in the heat, but having too tight of an area can prevent the necessary air exchange that provides good air quality.

I am amazed at how many new homes that I have seen built over the last few years that do not take into consideration the solar heating possibilities of a site. I imagine that the heating costs for those new homes are higher than need be. A secondary source that we use to heat our house is a wood burning stove. We use about three cords of wood a year to heat our house on the really cold nights or cloudy days during the winter.

Please visit the Living On Solar Blog to talk about or ask questions about a passive solar home.

The video runs for 2 minutes and 14 seconds and shows how our passive solar home works. We hope that you enjoy the video. Please watch our other solar videos elsewhere on this site.

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Click here to view the floor plan

 

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