4 Essential Principles on Passive Solar Home Plans
Any application involving the passive solar design must follow a set of principles. They are itemized and explained in the next paragraphs.
Passive Solar Home Plans #1: The site to be selected must have good solar exposure.
There are many cases that passive solar houses is not functioning on its full efficiency and had been suffering from lack of sunlight for a long period of time because the site that have been selected had been shaded my many obstacles like the trees or the houses in the neighborhood that blocks the sun.
The first principle is just simple to select a site that is free from obstruction from solar access the moment you install the solar panel system and in the future. The south part of the house is ideally being exposed to the sunlight from 9am till 3pm during summer season. In most countries, heating season happens in the winter, late fall and early spring.
A careful and thorough evaluation of the site is needed. Wooden lots should be avoided or have the trees been removed on the south portion of the house to welcome the sunlight. Large obstructions including the hills and buildings near the site must be avoided because these will block the winter sun at low angle.
Experienced solar engineers can determine whether the site of the house is suitable by tracing the path of the sun with the sky by the use of a device called the Solar Pathfinder.
If there are budget constraints and only a small lot can be afforded, it must be a lot that is situated deep from north to south to guarantee good solar access. Make sure to determine the position of the long axis from east to west. For most rural settings, placing your septic drainage area within the boundary of the solar access zone can be a good strategy in maintaining reliable solar access because that specific area will require to be kept clear of trees that can block the southern Sun.
Passive Solar Home Plans #2: Insulate on a superior level
Leaky and poor insulated walls can cause loss of the gathered heat during the day. This occurrence mostly happens in the late 1970s and 1980s but modern design did not made the same mistake because designers super-insulate, setting the goal that a better home should retain heat during winter time resulting to a more comfortable life.
A superior level of insulation is needed on ceilings, floors, walls and foundations for the purpose of conserving the solar energy gathered and maintain an adequate interior temperature regardless of the wide swings of temperature outside the house. Government agencies such as the International Energy Conservation Code, EPA, and DOE had been prescribing a definite level of insulation.
Nevertheless, smart energy-builders had the preference of insulation that exceeds these level required, commonly 30% higher than the recommended level. It must be remembered that insulation must be done correctly. Hire professionals that know the job well.
Batt insulation need not to be compressed and must be flushed against ceiling joists and studs, thus the air cannot flow on it. Some of the builders have strong preference in liquid foam insulation process.
These are sprayed in ceiling cavities and wall as liquids but expand quickly and converted into solid. Products made of liquid foam produces an airtight seal and can repel water and have an annihilating effect on other kinds of insulation like the fiberglass and cellulose.
Even a small amount of water in the standard insulation products can reduce the resistance to the flow of heat, therefore, lowering the ability to insulate. The liquid form of insulation almost doubles its ability to insulate but the product itself is very expensive.
Aside from insulation on the wall, floor, roof and foundation, installation of well insulated windows are also important. Insulation is important on windows facing the walls of north, east and west. For more solar energy efficiency, cover the windows with rigid thermal shutters or insulated shades.
Passive Solar Home Plans #3: Insulation must be protected from moisture
Moisture is very crucial and important, and as mentioned earlier, losses of insulation thermal resistance can occur on the present of even a small quantity of moisture.
In a commonly stick-frame construction, solar builders oftentimes are installing a plastic vapor barrier on the warmer side of the wall. During cold climates, vapor barrier is installed inside the wall.
On the other hand, on warm and humid climates, it is installed outside. Additional protection will be achieved by putting a plastic house wrap on the outer sheathing. The purpose of these moisture barriers is to slow down the movement of the moisture in and through the walls.
Although placement of vapor barriers are a beneficial idea, most people would believe that they not as important. This is o because most of the moisture enters elsewhere on the wall and only little of it penetrates on the wall surface.
The main source of moisture in the walls is the inappropriate flushing around the windows, doors and roofs. The next major source is the penetration of moisture in the walls of light switches, electrical outlets and other plumbing and electrical penetrations.
Pay careful attention to these areas in protecting your ceilings and walls for moisture. It always pays a large dividend if these factors be improved.
Passive Solar Home Plans #4: Building it tight and ventilating it right
For the passive solar house to be more efficient, it must be airtight built, so that moisture can be prevented from entering the walls.
Moreover, infiltration and ex filtration must be kept from occurring. The former is the movement of the air towards the building, while the latter is opposite direction movement of the air. These both phenomenons can rip off some heat during the season of winter.
Also, during windy winter days, cold aria can leak into the house by the openings in the building envelope and can possibly create uncomfortable drafts. During the season when the wind is not blowing, these leaks in the building envelope can cause warm interior air to escape, thus reducing the heating efficiency. Also, in summer months, leaks can cause a decrease in the comfort and possibly raise the fuel bills.
Qualified solar contractors are offering to seal all these cracks in the building envelope around doors and windows and in other locations they may occur to minimize infiltration and ex filtration.
Part of the design will include mud rooms and entryways that can blocked off from the areas like the main living area during cold climates.
Airlocks or sometimes referred to as sealed entryways can keep the cold air from attacking suddenly when the door is being opened. Also, sheltering is another effective way to reduce air infiltration.
A much more airtight house can be achieved by earth sheltering because it impressively reduce the space exposed to the bad elements of the exterior wall.
It also diminishes some exterior wall maintenance such as the staining siding and the painting. Moreover, this technique helps in reducing heat loss by the roofs and the exterior walls because a constant temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit was maintained in the entire house. This is warm thermal blanket that is diffused around the house maintains the warm during winter and cool summer seasons.
Technically, how and what airtight vale should the house be? It should permit 0.35 to 0.5 total changes of air per hour. That amount is enough to allow fresh air inside the house and cast off cold and dusty air.
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