Re: solar house information

>gms@internode.net (75332.2563@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
>: For my son's school project, he must design and build a model of
>: a solar heated house. Can anyone suggest a source of information
>: or plans?
>Check the local library for anything by Malcolm Wells, if you want the
>underground option. Basically you want most of the glass facing the
>equator, perhaps a greenhouse on the south wall. You need mass to store
>the energy, such as a thick stone or concrete wall, or water tanks, or
>Glauber's salt. The heat will be radiated back into the house at night.
>You want earth berms and coniferous trees on the north side to shelter
>from the winter wind. You could also put solar water heating and
>photovoltaic panels on the south side of the roof. The floor plan could
>be similar to a high-rise apartment with all the windows on one side.
>Brian Calvert (mcalvert@spartan.ac.brocku.ca)

Of course it's nice to see someone else recommending Mac, but at least
one point: there's no need for all the windows to be on one side;
indeed, the non-sun side will give the clearest, glare-free views, not
to mention cross-ventilation. To go one more step, here are the 4 basic
solar systems:

DG, Direct gain, which means sun-facing glass into the living space with
thermal storage inside. Simplest and cheapest, but relatively difficult
to control and requiring detailed design.

AG, Attached greenhouse, which means  a sun-facing, glassed-in space
adjacent to the living space; this does a number of things, inc.
improving (reducing) infiltration, allowing control (usually vents into
living spaces), providing a greenhouse, and giving privacy.

TW, Trombe wall, a system developed by a Frenchman in which a thick
concret wall is placed on the sun-side with glass on the outside. The
wall gets hot, the air between the wall and the glass gets super-hot
(150+), and vents exist top and bottom to allow air to circulate.
Super-efficient, traditional-looking from the inside, a bit goofy on the

WW, Water wall, in which water-filled prisms (oil drums, plexiglass
cylinders, etc) are just inside the sun-glass and act as thermal mass.
Kind of weird, but H2O is _the_ best storage mass (in efficiency, at any

Another option is less direct, in which you run pipes through solar
panels and use that water to heat the house (radiant or baseboard or
whatever); another includes a rockbed, in which heat is gathered and
stored in a rockbed near the house, and the heated air is circulated up
to the house (thermosiphoning).

That's a brief summary; just about any solar book will cover these.
ASHRAE puts out publications that can tell you how much of each system
you need to make up a given # of BTUs in a given climate. Good luck

93 SL2, blue-green

"His learning is too often borrowed, and his opinions are too often his own."

"My complete autobiography:
In 1964, after 10 years spent spreading corporate asphalt on
America in the name of architecture, I woke up one day to the
fact that the earth's surface was made for living plants,
not industrial plants. I've been an underground architect
ever since. I live on Cape Cod, and I'm writing this in the dry,
sunny silence of the Underground Art Gallery."
-- Malcolm Wells, who is the nicest guy I've ever met.