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View Diary: Fishgrease: My War on Christmas Fundraiser Thing (203 comments)

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  •  There is one kind of solar that is always good (7+ / 0-)

    and that's passive solar heating (and cooling) techniques.

    Careful orientation of buildings with respect to the sun (east-west with solar gain windows on the south side for those of us in the northern hemisphere) and thoughtful use of windows to capture summer breezes at your location can make a huge difference.

    Warm air rises. So for winter you need tight insulation on top but for summer you need windows or other ventilation at the top, with intake windows as low down as you can manage. You'll be shocked at how quickly you can cool a house down if you have cool evenings, a low window, and a high exhaust.

    Thermal mass is great too. That's why adobe houses in New Mexico can stay cool and comfortable in summer even without HVAC.

    To keep your south facing windows from overheating you in summer, you use overhangs (or awnings even) and benefit from a super convenient coincidence that the summer sun is high in the sky and can be blocked by overhangs that still let the lower winter sun in full force. Here is an awesome overhang calculator:

    What's nice about it is that it will show you very clearly what tradeoffs you're making for summer versus winter and what times of day are blocked or not. So if you're a little more worried about heating, you can make your overhang a little shorter, and if you're a little more worried about cooling, it can be a little deeper. It's actually surprising how small the overhang can be and yet make all the difference... maybe just a foot more than standard depending on the size and placement of your windows.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 11:26:12 AM PST

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