Sustainable design, zero energy passive solar green home HTM high thermal mass holistic housing consultation packages for the earthhome do-it-yourselfer. With over 20 years of experience, we are the original zero-energy green home building company!
Sustainable design, zero-energy, passive solar homes are free from mechanical climate control systems for truly independent living. Our website is packed with loads of valuable free information, so please take the time to read all of this passive solar chapter and all of the many detail pages. Learn why high thermal mass (HTM™) dry stack block, mortared concrete block, or poured-in-place concrete wall construction is a much better answer than super-insulated (high R value) air-tight construction for ANY climate.
Conventional stick framing, log homes, strawbale houses, autoclaved aerated concrete construction, and especially insulated concrete forms ICF's are simply not feasible, passive solar, sustainable design materials because they don't effectively store and release energy. HTM construction homes will function just fine in any climate, anywhere in the world. Dry stack block surface bonded concrete block walls for HTMs. Dry stack concrete block (cinder block) technique uses surface bonding cement (SBC) instead of mortar for high thermal mass walls that are actually stronger than conventionally laid block walls.
Only the first course is bedded in grout on the footer to establish plumb and level for the wall. The rest of the dry stack block courses are laid without need for any mortar between the cinder blocks. This building method has been around for well over a century, so it is nothing new or really even very unique in commercial buildings. SBC was formulated to build million gallon municipal cisterns for water storage. The original SBC recipe used horse hair for the structural fibers.
Blocks need not be of any special design. Please note that solid, poured in place, concrete walls are just as effective, but forming and pouring is outside the skill level of most people. With any surface bonding cement, conventional mortared block, or poured-in-place cement wall, it is key to note: Builders Booksource: Green Building. Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself. Backwoods Solar Electric Systems. PVWATTS v. 1. Solar energy projects for Do It Yourselfers to save money and reduce pollution.
Passive Solar Home Design FAQ. Q: What is passive solar design?
Passive solar design uses sunshine to heat and light homes and other buildings without mechanical or electrical devices. It is usually part of the design of the building itself, using certain materials and placement of windows or skylights. A successful passive solar building needs to be very well insulated in order to make best use of the sun's energy. The result is a quiet and comfortable space, free of drafts and cold spots. Passive solar design can also achieve summer cooling and ventilating by making use of convective air currents which are created by the natural tendency of hot air to rise.
In the winter when heating is required, the sun is low in the sky, which allows the heat to penetrate into windows on the south face of a structure. Depending on the climate and the design, as much as 100 percent of a building's heating needs can be provided by the sun. Q: What are the main elements of passive solar home design? Q: What is direct gain design? Passive Solar Home Plans. These plans were taken from the book “Passive Solar Homes – 91 new award-winning, energy-conserving single-family homes”, The U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1982 These homes were the winners of HUD’s fifth (and final) cycle of demonstration solar homes. The 91 winning homes were selected from 550 builder applicants. This was a time of great interest and activity in the passive solar home designs – many of the winning homes show a level of innovation not often found today’s passive solar designs. These are XX homes from the Western region: Click on the location to download a 2 to 5 page pdf concept plan file. Residential Renovation of a Schoolhouse. Search The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers This is the most carefully thought out and carefully executed energy retrofit I have seen.
Gordon and Sue took a drafty 1963 brick schoolhouse with almost no insulation and converted into a home that could meet Passive House Institute standards, and that has a heating bill that is 6% of a similar size code built home in their area. Building a new home with a thermal envelope this efficient would be an excellent accomplishment -- doing this in a retrofit situation with all the challenges that go with trying to bend an existing structure to your needs makes it much more difficult.
Meeting nearly all of the space heating needs with a good thermal envelope and passive solar heating was a very difficult challenge in this tough 7,150 heating degree day climate in Ontario. The article provides good detail on the design and execution of this extensive retrofit. Download all the details on this fine project: A Simple Design Methodology For Passive Solar Houses.
Designing a Passive Solar House When the term, "passive solar" was introduced into the language of professional solar researchers in the 1970's, most people didn't have a vague notion what it meant.
Later, as the term was popularized by the media and through a large number of public educational conferences, people probably thought that if they wanted to build a passive solar house they would have to hire not only an architect, but a professional solar engineer capable of manipulating very complex mathematical equations on a computer. Today, thanks primarily to knowledge gained from government-funded research on a large number of completed "pioneer" passive solar houses, we've collected data in the late 1970s, and are at the stage where even a high school student can design a passive solar structure. Following is a composite of recently published information to get the owner-builder on the path to owner-designing the passive solar house.
Passive Solar Preliminary Design Rules of Thumb. Cristian's Earth Sheltered Passive Solar Home in Romania. Search The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers NEW: Cristian adds a greenhouse...
And now the story... After 20 years of stressful work as technical manager for a private company from Bucharest ( Capital of Romania) I decided to find a nice and quiet place and build a home with no future expenses. My children (two boys and a girl) have finished their school, have jobs and need their own home to have a family. In 2007 we found a place with 10,000 square meters at an incredible price (0.5 $ per square meter), and with the perfect orientation (N-S) and with all the facilities (water, electricity, natural gas and good road). We bought a trailer and in the autumn of 2008, we built the foundation. How the House Works Plan view of the house as built. The picture above shows the floor plan for the house. The South half of the house (with the large windows) is 0.8m (2.6 ft) lower than the North half. View of the house from the south showing the main solar features.
Construction Pictures. Solar Hot Water Basics. What is Solar Water Heating?
Solar water heating collectors capture and retain heat from the sun and transfer this heat to a liquid. Solar thermal heat is trapped using the “greenhouse effect,” in this case is the ability of a reflective surface to transmit short wave radiation and reflect long wave radiation. Heat and infrared radiation (IR) are produced when short wave radiation light hits a collector’s absorber, which is then trapped inside the collector. Fluid, usually water, in contact with the absorber collects the trapped heat to transfer it to storage. Two principles govern solar thermal collectors. Second, heat loss is more rapid if the temperature difference between a hot object and its environment is larger, in this case between the temperature of the collector surface and the ambient temperature. The most basic approach to solar heating of water is to simply put a tank filled with water into the sun.
A more common collector is called a flat plate collector. The $1000 Solar Water Heating System. Search The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers Directory -- for the system overview provided on this page: This page gives an overview of the $1K Solar Water Heating System.
Important: This page is just a quick overview of the system, but there are 20+ pages covering the design, construction, testing, cost, and performance of the system in great detail -- see this ROAD MAP for all of the gory details. Objectives for the System The objectives for this project are to design and build a domestic solar water heating system that: Costs less than $1000 using all new high quality parts and materials. This is a fairly formidable set of goals given that commercial systems for cold climates often cost 5 to 8 times the $1000 target. To accomplish the goals, the design uses these somewhat unique features: Two collector designs are covered -- either one can be used -- both are easy to build: The first collector design uses low cost PEX tubing instead of copper to pick up heat from aluminum fins. 7 Solar Water Heating System Designs by Michael Hackleman Issue #65. (Rob Harlan is a general and solar contractor with 25 years of experience with solar water heating systems in Mendocino County, California.
Rob primarily designs and installs photovoltaic systems today.) MH: Rob, will you give a brief history of the last 30 years of solar-water heating system design and implementation? Rob: Solar-water heating systems got a real boost in the 1970s when tax credits were offered by state and federal programs to help folks make the investment. These systems were intended primarily for domestic hot water, i.e., showers, dishwashing, cooking, and clotheswashing. They were also popular for heating the water in pools and hot tubs. MH: As I recall, a lot of manufacturers also disappeared when the tax credits went away. Rob: Some designs were indeed flawed—poorly implemented, overly complex, or incorporating untested ideas. Rob: And—on active systems, a controller turns a pump on and off as solar heat is available. Rob: Freezing protection. Rob: True. 1. 2. 3. A Simple DIY Thermosyphon Solar Water Heating System. Search The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers System schematic -- Thermosyphon Solar Water Heater As shown in the schematic, when sun is on the Solar Panel, the water in the panel is heated, becomes less dense and rises up into the Storage Tank.
The heated water leaving the panel is replaced by cool water flowing from the bottom of the Storage Tank into the lower connection on the collector. This continuous natural circulation of the water through the collector and tank heats the tank water over time. Sun and gravity take care of the circulating the water, so no pump is needed. The system as shown here does not have freeze protection, so it must be used in non-freezing climates, or be drained for the winter. Building the Collector I used a roll of aluminum 10 " wide, which I cut to length and fit under the tubes. There is a 3/4 insulation sheet behind the plywood and another thinner plywood on the back to protect the insulation sheet. Collector Installation Storage Tank and Plumbing. Solar Water Heating Systems Buyer's Guide. Pump and Pipe Sizing for a Solar Water or Space Heating System. Search The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers Overview of Sizing the Plumbing and Pump for Solar Collectors The basic underlying requirement is that you want a pump and plumbing system that will push enough heat transfer fluid (typically water) through your solar collectors to efficiently remove the heat that the sun is depositing in them.
Too little flow, and the collectors will run hotter and less efficiently, too much flow and you are wasting money on bigger pipes and pumps than the system needs, and using more pump power than you need to. The steps involved in the pump and plumbing sizing: Calculate the flow that the collectors need Measure the vertical distance between the top of the collector and the tank water level Calculate the pressure drop and flow velocity for the plumbing system.
The Example I will use my Solar Shed project as an example. In a nutshell, it has 6 collectors of 40 sqft each. Step 1: Calculate the Flow to the Collectors Pipe Pressure Losses. Solar Panels. 80 Watt Do-it-Yourself Solar Energy Kit. The Efficient Windows Collaborative: Guidance. Efficient windows basics Designing new homes can be a complex issue, but some straightforward principles and guidelines may help you set a solid foundation for window energy efficiency upon which you can further improve with careful design. Two of the most straightforward principles of selecting efficient windows are these: The windows must meet the locally applicable energy code requirements ; Windows that are ENERGY STAR qualified for the home's climate ensure state-of-the-art energy performance even in locations with outdated or nonexistent energy codes. Code-compliant windows, especially if ENERGY STAR qualified, offer benefits including energy cost savings , improved comfort , less condensation and fading , and the potential for HVAC downsizing .
Design considerations for window performance The figure below shows several design conditions affecting window performance. Window and Glazing Analysis Tools.