|Removing the pine needle carpet from Priscilla's rooftop|
To be perfectly honest, our heads are spinning from the little bit of research we have done so far. The first steps have us delving into the fields of passive solar design and the basics behind powering a house with solar energy. At first glance, the Keep It Simple theory, to which I fully subscribe, gets lost amongst all the compulsory calculations and the long list of essential energy-producing equipment. I can only hope that further investigation into this renewable energy lifestyle will calm the "Holy smokes! This seems complicated" fears!
Passive solar design definitely has its two camps: those who think it's the be-all and end-all and that there will not be much need for any further heating or cooling if done properly, and those who think it's a crock. This little divide in the passive solar debate has me somewhat concerned.
|South-facing windows...too cold, too hot, or just right? Which is it?|
The other side of it goes something like this: windows are a big hole in the wall and no amount of insulation will make up for all those holes in the wall, regardless of any windows' high-tech qualities. As well, a wall of windows on the south side in the summer will overheat the house, increasing the need for air conditioning. Simply stated, the opponents think the house will be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer and the blame falls squarely on the glass.
We are looking to squeeze as much free energy from the sun as we possibly can. By reducing the need for active heating and cooling, we will be able to reduce the total amount of electricity we will have to produce. This, in turn, will allow us to build a smaller (read less expensive) solar energy system for our off-grid home. Minimize, then energize...what a great concept!
I am looking for real-life examples, rather than book theory, of your experiences with passive solar design. Have you encountered times of "too cold" and/or "too hot" or something more consistent? Maybe you know a good passive solar design professional, preferably in Ontario, that you can refer us to? Please click the "comments" link in the grey box below this post to leave your stories, ideas, advice, suggestions, links, or referrals. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Seeking assistance...from you and the sun,