Passive Solar Design

Reducing your reliance on mechanical heating and cooling systems begins with passive solar design.We've already talked about taking advantage of the natural heating capabilities of the sun (see Chapter 7), but we'll stress the point again. Orient your building's main bank of windows in the direction of the sun, and let its rays bathe your home during the cold months of the year. During the warm months you'll appreciate the shade won by that carefully plotted eaves overhang. Remember, the eaves don't shade early morning or late afternoon sun, so large west (and to a lesser extent, east) windows may cause overheating. Straw bale homes have far less heat loss and better inherent thermal mass than passive solar homes of yore, so don't overdo it on the windows. This type of design is easy to create and one of the best energy investments you'll ever make.

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