What is the cheapest energy? The energy that is not used!
Design of a passive solar home
A building envelope maximizes solar radiation in the home in the winter, and trees cool the home in the summer.
Due to its passive solar design, the ERE 132 home may be heated, in the dead of winter, with only 29 W/m2, or the equivalent of slightly less power than two hair dryers!
- Site: non-shaded and sheltered from the wind whose slope, if there is one, does not descend northwards
- Shape: rectangular, compact, whose lateral surfaces measure less than two thirds of the north and south facing facades
- Direction: main facade faces south
- Location of windows: at least 60% of windows facing south with a minimum facing north
- Roof: light-coloured or reflective, sloping in the direction of the prevailing winds
- Hermetically sealed and insulated
- Materials: heavy, dense, dark, offering a good resistance to changes in temperature, allowing for absorption and distribution of heat, or for coolness, throughout the day — concrete, brick, mud brick, stone (thermal mass)
- Interior Design: bedrooms located in the east portion of the home; storage spaces, laundry room and bathrooms in the north portion; lounge, kitchen and other open area living spaces, in the south and west. Rooms located in the south must be free of small walls, partition walls, tall and bulky furniture and other obstacles that would restrict sunlight from reaching thermal mass
- Vegetation: deciduous hardwoods to the south, east and west of the home for shading in the summer and for solar radiation in the winter; conifers to the north to protect the home against the harsh winter wind
- Overheating: This is avoided due to solar masks — canopies above all the south facing windows, blinds or shutters to the east and to the west; the total percentage of glass openings to the south should be equal to or less than 25% of the total floor ar
- To learn more about the passive solar home
Windows for the passive solar home
28.5% of heat loss in the home occurs through windows and doors.
Windows are the source of heat for a passive solar home: the gateway to the sun. However, in terms of energy efficiency, the window always constitutes the weak link to the outer walls of a house. That is why the type of window should be chosen with care and should be well installed.
Windows located to the north, east and west have an energy balance deficit during the day. The placement of windows should, consequently, be limited to the north, east and west and instead be primarily concentrated to the south. In all cases, each window must be installed into the middle thickness of the wall, paying particular attention to the seal, without which all endeavours at energy efficiency will be in vain. Proper installation of flashing, apron wall, drip molding and waterproofing membranes will eventually divert water from these openings.
The best window choices are :
- Glazing: double or triple, thermal glass and/or plastic film tightly sealed between the window panes with an air space or inert gas and Low-E glass
- Frames: fixed or casement, rated A2 or A3 and between B2 and B7, in wood, FSC certified
- Insulating-glass spacer: in plastic to reduce energy loss from 20% to 30%
- All components: ENERGY STAR® certified®
The ERE 132 windows are ENERGY STAR® approved, triple glazed windows, filled with argon gas and equipped with a low-emissivity (low-E) film.