Sol’n’Soul

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Monday, March 13, 2016

This blog has started to become my research center and virtual board where I keep ideas for my future passive solar, mono pitch roof house.  There’s a lot to figure out before I begin the building process but I am excited to report that electricity will be installed on the land this week!  I can’t wait to plug the camper in, run a vacuum and spend some time clearing the overgrown parts of the field.  With electricity I can use my electric chain saw and electric saws-all.  It makes me feel like I’m really moving towards something, towards the sun.

Passive Solar Design Strategies: Guidelines for Home Building below: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/old/17214.pdf

(Try not to let the terrible spelling errors bother you!)

“The ideal orientation for solar glazing is within 5 degrees of true south. This orientation will provide maximum performance. Glazing oriented to within 15 degrees of true south will perform almost as well. and orientations up to 30 degrees off – although less effective – will still provide a substantial level of solar contribution. In Portland, Maine magnetic north as indicated on the compass is actually 16 degrees West of true north. and this should be corrected for when planning for orientation of south glazing. When glazing is oriented more than 15 degrees off true south. not only is winter solar performance reduced. but summer air conditioning loads also significantly increase. especially as the orientation goes west. The warmer the climate. the more east- and west-facing glass will tend to cause overheating problems. In general. southeast orientations present less of a problem than southwest. Magnetic deviation is the angle between true north and magnetic north. In the ideal situation. the house should be oriented east west and so have its longest wall facing south. But as a practical matter. if the house’s short side has good southern exposure it will usually accommodate sufficient glazing for an effective passive solar system. provided the heat can be transferred to the northern zones of the house.”

In line with my thoughts on where to position the windows of my future home I also wonder if triple-pane windows would be worth the extra cost.  After some research I came to the conclusion that for me and my extremely limited budget regular 2-pane windows would be sufficient if I made sure they were large and positioned on the tall south facing wall.  I think very small triple-pane windows on the north wall might be worth it, but at the slow rate I’m moving towards my dream house I would take any window I could afford!  I think I will use heavy insulated curtains during the evening hours which would provide privacy as well as insulation.  Speaking of heavy I also read that triple-pane windows can be as much as 50% heavier than standard windows which I imagine would add to the cost of material in the wall to support the added weight.

After living in a cold and dim 1958 cape residing in a sun-space  would feel absolutely magical.  I need “home” to be a refuge from the rest of the world, a place to restore my soul and recharge my battery.  I would rather be in a sun filled home that was tiny and unfinished than a dark home that had multiple rooms and ample space.  I will get there even if I have nothing else but sheer determination.