Solar Architecture in Cool Climates

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These roofs are notorious for sucking energy out of the house because of the stack effect. A way to prevent energy loss is to add insulation at the ceiling of the attic.

Passive Solar Design Principles

This minimizes the draft area and slows down the heat loss. Heat leakage is also typical less with this design. It is best to stick as closely to the warm roof design as you can, only allow as much draft as needed to shed the heat leaks. Many roof systems incorporate these draft zones without even requiring it to be designed into the attic or sub-roof space.

It is crucial that the eave and roof vents remain unblocked and that moisture not seep in. As the design of the roof gets more complex, the airflow becomes compromised and back drafts. The ridge is usually warmest, but if air gets sucked in from the top it will create pressure and temperatures differences.

Passive Solar Heating And Cooling Building Design – Architecture Revived

This contributes to pockets of warm air that greatly heat the uninsulated roof and create ice dams. Most solar water heaters use heat exchangers to absorb sunlight with glycol and transfer the warmth to water. But glycol is difficult to work with, as it is very viscous, easily leaks and contaminates, and turns into dangerous acid if it oxidizes with aluminum and other metals. A very cheap and easy way to use the sun to heat incoming water is to simply run the pipes outdoors through insulated glass. Copper pipes zig zag through an insulated box with a glass top and black bottom, maintaining the same water pressure.

These pipes are painted black to absorb the heat that gets trapped in the box. The amount of heat that can be absorbed when the sun is shining is incredible, so include a pressure release valve. Drain the pipes in the winter and bypass the water directly to the water heater when it gets too cold outside to be effective. By supplementing a water heater with a solar heated water first, a lot less energy is needed to get the water hot.

There are all kinds of solar water heaters available and professional services to install a well-running system. Skip to content. Shading Windows The amount of energy spent on heating and cooling homes can be severely reduced by using simple design techniques. Building materials and structural design greatly impact the temperature inside a space.

A building can use the power of the sun to heat or cool itself, with techniques that were developed over thousands of years in distant parts of the world. These techniques are cheap, saves money, and helps the environment. Warm Roof Solar Water Heating Overhangs — Size roof overhangs so that the summer sun is blocked but so that the lower winter sun is let through. Consider the height of the sun in these seasons for the length of your roof eaves.

Most louvers are rigid, but if you can get louvers that are adjustable like interior shades that would probably prove handy. Inside Objects Filter Sun — Objects in the room can likewise block or filter sunlight. Water elements like fish tanks are great because they soak up heat and mitigate temperatures. Previous Post. Next Post. About The Author Benjamin Blankenbehler. Menu Search for. Shading Windows. The amount of energy spent on heating and cooling homes can be severely reduced by using simple design techniques. Warm Roof Solar Water Heating. Overhangs — Size roof overhangs so that the summer sun is blocked but so that the lower winter sun is let through.

Use With Windows — Thermal mass placed around a heat source, such as a window, will best cool a room. Heat Stack — Many homes have tall front entrances.

They naturally provide cooler temperatures. The best thing to do is isolate this solar tower to its own room that can be opened or closed with a door. It can provide a cooling draft in the summer and be isolated away behind closed doors in the winter. It could also heat the house in the winter.

Passive Solar Heating And Cooling Building Design

Close off the upper chimney with a damper and allow the heated air to enter back into the room. A popular variation of this is the soda can heater. Air flows from can to can in little pockets, which gives it a chance to really heat up before it vents out of the top. The most important thing to prevent heat loss or gain in any roof is insulation. But with the cold roof, the attic is ventilated to shed any heat that does escape from the house and prevent ice dams and icicles on the roof. They built them in response to the climate, to social and cultural standards and to their need for adequate shelter.

They did not have available to them abundant energy resources or mechanical devices for moderating the indoor climate of their homes. So they used what was available - the sun, wind, caves, fire and available materials such as branches and sticks, and mud and stone.

If necessary, they built several dwellings, including one for summer and one for winter.

Some of the earliest buildings in Arizona which took advantage of the sun were the cliff dwellings which, in many cases, faced south. While archeology shows that many cliff dwellings built during the same period and later, did not face south, those with the correct orientation provided a better level of potential comfort than those that did not orient to the south.

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Thus the low winter sun could enter and heat the people directly as well as heat the mud and stone walls of the apartments which remained warm in the cool nights, and during the summers, the cave roof shaded the dwelling from the direct rays of the sun keeping both people and structures cool. Early desert dwellings included pit houses semi nestled into the earth with earthen berms which took advantage of the coolness and thermal stability of the earth; ramadas - outdoor, shaded work structures cooking, etc. Subsequently, multi-family dwellings called pueblos also incorporated ramadas.

These two types of structures gave the inhabitants a choice between using the high mass adobe structure as a shelter from extreme heat and cold, or the low mass shelter ramada when it was comfortable outside. The ramada was also often used as an outdoor kitchen to keep the house from getting too smoky or warm. All solar buildings are climate and site responsive.

Arizona is a composite of differing patterns of elevation, temperature, solar radiation, humidity, wind conditions, vegetation, and terrain and even within the general climate zones of the state, there are local variations and factors to be taken into consideration. Arizona is defined into 4 general climate zones -. Arizona's environmental diversity leads to differing building design strategies and expressions, but also contain some shared design aspects. In areas of severe winter conditions Flagstaff, Northern Arizona, etc.

In areas of severe summer conditions Phoenix, Yuma, Tucson, etc. Those temperate areas of Arizona, as well as those temperate times of the season in the areas of extreme temperature, can attain comfort by the use of fundamental solar planning, building materials, and ventilation. Arizona has two rainy seasons, one in the winter and one in the summer. Winters are mild with highs in the 60's and 70's and lows in the 30's and 40's with occasional nighttime drops to freezing and below. Average January temperatures are July high temperatures for the purposes of cooling system design are 'F in Phoenix, 'F in Yuma and ' F in Tucson.

Passive solar building design

Most of the year the air is very dry in the desert zones except during the height of the summer rainy season, when high humidity can cause much discomfort, particularly in the Phoenix and Yuma areas. Passive cooling potential is greatest during the dry summer periods, but usually must be augmented with mechanical cooling during the most humid times. Heating and cooling designs must be considered in conjunction with one another. While more cooling than heating is needed in the desert zones, heating is the primary need in the basin and range and the high mountain zones.

Summer nighttime temperatures drop low enough in these zones to allow adequate passive cooling if prevention of unwanted heat gains in the summer is incorporated. Summer high temperatures in the basin and range zone are in the mid 90's and the lows are in the high 50's and low 60's. The January average temperature is Summer high temperatures in Flagstaff normally reach the mid 80's but can get higher while summer lows are in the low 50's.

The January average temperature for Flagstaff is 28 ' F. If passive heating and cooling are combined with proper means of controlling heat gains provided, little or no backup cooling is necessary. Historically there are many examples of solar uses, strategies, and techniques In Arizona, but solar houses, as we think of them today, were not built until the 's. One of the earliest Arizona solar home designers was architect Arthur T.

Brown who was instrumental in the design of an earth integrated passive solar home in Florence, Arizona in , and other solar homes in the southern part of the state. One of his best known solar homes in Tucson incorporates a mass wall behind glass which stored solar heat in winter, keeping the house warm late into the evening. Brown provided for summer cooling with deep overhangs to keep the sun out; low vents on the north side and high vents near the south side ceiling for cross-ventilation; and the incorporation of evaporative cooling.

First and foremost, there is a great difference between an energy efficient building and a solar building. Solar buildings purposefully utilize the building's attributes of orientation, form, materials, and equipment to use the sun and other natural elements earth, wind, water to interact with solar and environmental conditions and resources to provide a unified, comprehensive approach to heating, cooling, lighting, water heating, cooking, etc..

An energy efficient building, while highly insulating and even efficient in its' energy consumption may not utilize the environmental resources that are available to provide for human comfort. Passive solar homes are those that use natural means -the sun - along with the heat transfer mechanisms of convection, conduction, radiation and evaporation to provide comfort.

A passive building is designed to stay comfortable both winter and summer with little or no need for additional energy. Systems that depend on fans and pumps for their operation are called active.