It is not a new thing to build homes in a position that enables them to utilize the suns energy for providing heat. While today this is also done, other factors come into play such as the homes curb appeal etc. What are some of the ways that homes can be designed and constructed, enabling them to work with natural elements like the sun?
With the amazing technology we have today, when a home is in its design phase, computer models can show precisely how a home needs to be positioned and designed in order to get maximum solar gain, as well as seasonal thermal performance.
It is not just the structure of the home itself that should be positioned correctly. The floor plan is also an important factor to consider. For example, rooms such as the living room and kitchen that are inhabited most should be designed so that they benefit from the suns rays in the winter, but also have shade in the summer. This would also be good when thinking about the position of patios and decks. Areas and rooms that are not used as much like garages and laundry rooms don't need to benefit from the suns heat as much and so can be planned out in a similar way.
What about strategic positioning of trees? If placed correctly, they will provide much needed shade in the summer. At the same time though, you do not want them to prevent much needed sunlight in the winter, so much thought and good planning must be taken when deciding which type of tree is best and factors such as whether it will loose its leaves in the winter.
There are many other things we can do when it comes to optimizing natural energy. In our next article we will consider a few more of these.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector