I have encountered some people that utilize solar energies and I find their houses seem to be of different design which is weird.
Can I establish a solar home that looks quite “normal” just like the other homes in the locality?
The goal of the new designs in creating solar passive homes for this new generation is to integrate attractive exteriors and operational floor plans.
The style of the exterior integrates the latest design elements found in several of the houses throughout the country. The floor plans provide many opportunities to cater the changing needs of those who dwell the house.
The efficiency of the energy has no direct relation on the design of the house. One might need consideration is that passive solar design will require more windows to be installed on the south and one of the negative effect of this is that the southern side of the house cannot be built with a covered construction as this would obstruct the sun.
Does passive solar design extend enough warmth to heat up my home? Is it possible to turn it “off” during summer months?
The amount of the heat generated and is supplied to the entire home is dependent upon several factors such as the house design, location of the country and the amount of insulation.
Those with warmer climates can reach higher levels of heating with only few solar features and more of the south windows can be contained into two-storey houses and those houses with long south walls. More insulation means losing less heat, therefore the sun can supply a greater amount of the total heat needed.
It is not necessary or makes it possible for the passive solar heat to be “turned off” like a switch, but there are means to reduce the heat during months of summer.
Placement of window overhangs that is correctly designed in consideration of your latitude and climate is the most effective way. The basic function of the overhang is to admit in the low winter sun and keep out the hot afternoon and high summer sun. Another alternative is utilized movable and adjustable insulation and sunshades for further control.
Do the building materials like the use of bricks or logs matters? What is then the prescribed material?
Different kinds of exterior materials have a minimal effect on the overall energy performance of a solar home. Most of the homes are designed in stud wall system because it is cost effective in the first place and also the most common type of wall construction, hence, it is the method that most of the solar home builders are familiar of.
However, there are still many people who prefer log construction, SIP, ICF or other materials intended for the walls. The existing mass of these materials in the walls functions well in homes that thermal mass is not necessary anymore on the floors. One of the disadvantage, though, they demands higher construction cost.
On the other hand, slab-on-grade construction is recommended because it is considered as the most economical way of getting a thermal mass in a solar home.
What necessary adjustments are needed to make the house design to adapt solar hot water panel?
For passive solar house plans, it is designed that most of the roofs will include orientations and angles that will allow easy installation of hot water and PV panels.
Commonly, this involves a wide area of south facing roof. For customize design, a recommendation on the designer of hot water or Photovoltaic system is needed for the solar home builders to design a roof that optimizes the orientation of the panels.