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Below are the options for this series.Hover over and click on the elevation of your choice to see that product's details. Thermal reports are generated when a test specimen is physically attached to a wall and thermocouples are installed to measure the actual about of heat (BTU's) that is lost with a standard temperature differential. Samrat Yantra, Delhi, India, is an equinoctial sun dial, consisting of a gigantic triangular solar gnomon wtih the hypotenuse parallel to the earth's axis and aimed at the Pole Star.
Author's Note: The following information is a precipitation of knowledge acquired through my practice and research since the 1970's regarding the use of solar energy to 'passively' heat and cool buildings--specifically houses.
At the beginning of the 21st Century it is ironic that the idea of solar energy technology seems so new and daunting.
The discovery of the gnomon, one of mankinda€™s first scientific instruments, is as important to the development of civilization as the discovery of the wheel, leading to scientific astronomy, and measurement of time and space.
Acoma Pueblo, shown here as it looked in the 1930s, is the oldest continously inhabited place in the U.S.
While the Greek house that Socrates described probably lost heat as fast as it was collected, due to convective and radiation losses through the wall openings, the later Romans discovered that if the south-facing portico and windows of buildings were covered with sheets of mica or glass supported on wooden frames, the solar energy passing into the building would be trapped inside causing the internal temperature to stay more or less constant into the night.
This practical natural building heating principle is in fact universal to all cultures throughout history, including India, Persia, Turkey, China, Europe, Africa, and pre-contact North and South America. Native American traditional buildings and villages have also utilized passive solar principles for more than 2000 years.
Cross-section: Rising heat wave on the south side of the building naturally heats up the roof terrace work areas and south facing sleeping rooms during winter. Domus Aurea Octogon room, axonometric view showing clerestory windows surrounding the octagon room. Domus Aurea, interior room showing the fall of sunlight on the north opening of the Octagon. Besides providing warmth in the winter, a well-designed passive house should provide coolth and good ventilation in the summer.
It is a common rule-of-thumb that, compared to a conventionally designed house of the same square footage, a well-designed sun tempered house can reduce energy bills by 75% with an added construction cost of only 5-10%. Orangery, Belton House, Lincolnshire, England,designed by Jeffry Wyatville in the early 19th Century.
Direct Gain Passive Solar Open Floor Plan: Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Jacobs House 2, Middleton, WI, in 1944. Elements most commonly used in passive solar homes to make maximum use of the sun's heat include direct-gain windows, direct gain glazed solariums, and indirect-gain Trombe walls and mass walls. House of Tomorrow, designed in 1933 by Keck & Keck for the Chicago Century of Progress World's Fair , is an example of direct gain solar design in mid-20th century modern architecture. Rosenberg Residence, Tucson, Arizona, 1946; pioneering solar architect, Arthur Brown, a modernist, was applying direct solar gain and high thermal mass to his home designs in the 1940s.
Direct gain houses, considered to be the simplest passive solar house type, rely on south-facing windows, called solar windows. Remember, covering the mass with materials such as carpet, cork, wallboard, or other materials with R-values greater than 0.5 will effectively insulate the mass from the solar energy you're trying to collect. Locating thermal mass in interior partitions is more effective than exterior partitions, assuming both have equal solar access, because on the internal wall heat can transfer from both surfaces.
Figure 3: Internal mass storage walls serve as (a) north-south partitions between direct -gain spaces and (b) as east-west partitions between direct-gain sunspaces and north clerestory space . Lightweight objects and surfaces of low density materials should be light in color to reflect energy to high density materials. In northern climates, or where winter nights get cold, moveable insulation in the form of drapes, panels, shutters, and quilts should be used to cover the inside of the glass on winter nights to reduce heat loss. Since inhabitants will see out through the large glass area, the direct gain concept is good for the site with good southerly views. Architects and builders have discovered that a two-storey solar space or greenhouse, adjoining the main house, with operable vent windows near the top and bottom of the space can be used to create natural ventilation for the house during summer.
The direct gain solarium (otherwise known as a solar greenhouse or sunspace) is similar in concept to direct-gain windows, and the same orientation rules-of-thumb apply.
The Crystal Palace, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition of 1851, London, England. Like vertical solar sunspaces, the Native American Tipi lodge of the Great Plains, US, uses the chimney effect for comfort year round.
If you plan to include a sunspace in your design, you should first decide on the primary function of the space.
Hogan with proposed attached sunspace would reduce the Dine elders' dependency on costly fuel wood while providing natural comfort and useful space. Sunspace on south side of living area surrounding traditional Navajo (Dine) hogan, Colorado Solar Hogan Project, Unilversity of Colorado at Boulder, 1987; Charlie Cambridge, Anthropologist, with Dennis R. If the purpose of the sunspace is to collect solar heat and distribute it effectively to the adjacent living space, you're faced with a different set of design criteria.
There is more usable heat gain into a living space adjacent to a sunspace, if there aren't plants and lots of mass soaking it up in the sunspace. Austrian architect Joseph Kiraly designed this solar house that combines direct and indirect solar gain under a sensuously curved glass wall.
If your sunspace will be a living space, you'll need to consider comfort, convenience, and space in addition to energy efficiency.
Vertical glazing on sunspaces is the choice of increasing numbers of designers for a variety of reasons.
The performance of a vertical glazed south wall more closely follows the demands of heating degree days, heating effectively in winter when the angle of the sun is low and, because of increasing reflectance, allowing less solar gain as the sun rises toward its summer zenith. A sunspace designed for living requires carefully sized thermal mass, and, as we mentioned earlier, special care must be taken to assure that the sun can get to the mass. Once the sun goes down, the same windows that collected heat all day begin to re-radiate the heat to the outdoors.
Direct Gain glass array on the south side of a geodesic dome is derived from the sun's arc across the southern sky. Regardless of the design strategy you choose, there are some other criteria that are important to consider. The ideal orientation for the glazing in your sunspace is due solar south, although an orientation within 30Es east or west of due south is acceptable. Vertical south-facing glass has advantages over angled glazing in not having to be sealed against water leakage and in its capacity to reflect unwanted (high angle) summer sun; but its winter performance is 10-30% lower that tilted glass of the same area.
The southfacing glass wall of the sunspace can orient as much as 30Es east or west of south without losing much efficiency. If the sunspace is deeper than it is high, the space itself will trap the radiation, so lighter surface colors are acceptable.

The floor, north wall, and east and west side walls are good locations for mass walls, which should be materials with a high thermal conductivity such as concrete, water, brick, adobe, or rammed earth. Figure 9: Sunspace thermal storage (a) Provide 3 square feet of concrete (b) or 3 gallons of water (c) for each square foot of glazing. If the masonry floor and wall mass are the only thermal storage materials in the sunspace, three square feet of masonry surface per square foot of south glazing is the recommended ratio. Increasing the amount of thermal mass will stabilize the internal temperatures, making the sunspace more comfortable for people and plants.
If the sunspace is to be used for growing plants or as a living space, a 1a€? insulating glass is recommended. Either of these options add to the cost of the project, and the obvious disadvantage of movable insulation is that someone has to move it everyday. We use NCTL (National Certified Testing Laboratory) to independently provide all of our test data. Ancestral Puebloans leaned boulders against the cliff so precisely positioned that sunlight passing though cracks between the boulders falling over spiral petroglyphs mark the summer and winter solstices, the spring and fall equinoxes, and astonishingly, the nineteen year lunar cycle. Designed by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the 1720s, the instrument is intended to measure time of day and is correct to half-a-second. Portions of the paper appeared originally in The Owner-Builder Experience, by Dennis Holloway and Maureen McIntyre, Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, 1986. Ancient Africans, Babylonians, Mayans, and Indo-Europeans stuck an arrow into the ground, and using a bow-string as a radius, etched a circle around the arrow. The system of courtyards created microclimates and acted as a civic solar collector array. Emporer Diocletian's architect designed gigantic public baths with warm sun tempered rooms near the hot bathing pools on the south side and cooler rooms, Tepidaria and Frigidaria, to the north near the cold pools. This subject, often passed over in American architecture school history classes is nonetheless very important to investigate. High angle sun light in Summer is shielded from interior rooms by insulative roof structures. Rooms beyond are bathed in light from clerestory windows visible in the axonometric view above. In some quarters there is a stubbornly persistent myth, a holdover from the news media coverage of some of the early passive houses during the first Reagan Administration, that overheating in summer is common in direct gain passive solar houses. In the northern hemisphere windows are facing south (in the southern hemisphere its windows face north). Ideally, the interior surfaces that the sunlight falls upon are high density (thermal mass) materials, such as concrete, brick, stone, or adobe. In the early passive solar houses of the 70's, architects and builders tended to reduce window areas on the east, west, and north sides of the house in favor of increased south-oriented windows.
Passive solar homes tend to be well-insulated and have reduced air leakage rates, to keep the solar heat within the building envelope. Since auxiliary heat requirements are greatly reduced in a passive solar home, compared to a conventional home, smaller direct-vented heaters or a woodstove are often the backd-up heaters of choice for extended cloudy periods .
Passive solar homes work best with open floor plans--reduced partitions from main rooms to minor rooms-- to facilitate the thermosiphing movement of solar heat from the south side through the rest of the house. A well-designed passive solar house should not require a large sloped glass array--so common in the early passive solar houses of the last century. In our modern lexicon of solar architecture a passive solar house is distinct from an active solar house, which uses pumps, motors, storage tanks, storage floors, and various high tech controls to take solar heated fluids, usually water or forced air, from solar collectors, commonly flat plate collectors, and transport and store the energy to the house interior, where it is released as needed. The innovative pedagogic program incorporates solar design (direct gain and Trombe walls) into the student's curricula. These can be conventionally manufactured operable or fixed windows on the south wall of the house or standard-dimension insulating glass panels in the wall of the sunspace or solarium. Douglas Balcomb and his research team at Los Alamos National Laboratory recommend that the mass be spread over the largest practical area in the direct gain space. Materials such as ceramic floor tiles or brick make better choices for covering a direct gain slab.
The most storage-effective thickness in masonry materials is the first four inches--thickness beyond 6" is pointless. The most effective internal storage wall masses are those located between two direct gain spaces.
If more than one-half of the walls in a direct gain space are massive, then they should be light in color. In the warm season, because so much high-angle summer sun is reflected off vertical south-facing glass, heat gain is greatly reduced. Pull-down shades or canvas awnings on the outside of the glass of the south-facing windows, solarium, and trombe walls can greatly reduce house heat gain.
Some people object to the intense glare in direct gain rooms and fading of furniture fabrics can be a disadvantage. In Summer, when the windows are open on a sunny day, the rising mass of warmed air is allowed to escape through the opened top vents which in turn draws in cooler air through the lower vents or through windows in the adjacent house. The typical early solarium of the 1970s projected out from the house, like an addition, and was glazed on the south, east, and west sides as well as the roof. An indirect-gain system, such as a Trombe wall (b), provides heat while blocking the light. The sunspace can be very important in any strategy to retro-fit an existing house with a new sustainable energy source.
The design considerations for a food-growing greenhouse, a living space and a supplementary solar heater are very different, and although it is possible to build a sunspace that will serve all three functions, some compromises may be necessary.
Maximum gain is achieved with sloped glazing, few plants, and insulated, unglazed roof and end walls. A room you plan to live in must stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, have minimum glare levels, and moderate humidity. A masonry floor covered with carpets and furniture is not as effective a thermal mass as masonry sitting in direct sunlight. A person sitting in a sunspace in the evening will notice how the outdoors also draws radiant heat from the body through the glazing. Conceived by Tim Smit and designed by Nicolas Grimshaw, Architect in the late 1990s, derives from Bucky Fuller's earlier work. Much of the following information is gleened from The Sunspace Primer: A Guide to Passive Solar Heating, by Robert W. Vertically glazed space, can be used like most other rooms in the house, whereas tilted glazing could have head height issues. Sunspace with vertical south-wall glazing (sliding door), side venting windows, and sloped partial roof glazing (b).
Otherwise, the surfaces of heat storage materials (thermal mass) should be dark colors of at least 70 percent absorbance.

Light weight concrete is not acceptable as a thermal mass material, and concrete is most effective in 4 to 6 inch thicknesses. If water in containers is the only heat storage medium used, the recommended ratio is three gallons per square foot of glazing.
A common strategy is to use an 8 to 12 inch uninsulated masonry wall as the north wall of the sunspace. On the interior of the house, 55 gallon water-filled barrels on support frame behind south-oriented glass wall serve as the house primary heating and cooling element. Single glazing loses a great deal of heat at night, and will make the space uncomfortable for plants and people.
This updated paper is intended to introduce a younger generation, who may not have a clear idea of what passive solar is about and what a profound effect it's mass produced deployment can have on the US energy budget and reduced dependence on imported oil. The south-facing opening, covered in stretched skins allowed low level solar energy to temper the interior. Ancestral Puebloan village, Navajo National Monument, AZ, was built in a cliff cave facing southeast. Large populations became sensitized to the concept of tempering a space with sunlight (from Apollo). It is only since the Industrial Revolution in the 2Oth and early 21st Centuries that we have forgotten this principle, due to the relative low cost of burning fossil fuels extracted from the Earth. Who better to show the dominant society what can be done in buildings that connect with deep ecology to the American Land? This is a propagandistic deception by Big Oil, and only applies to passive solar houses with too high sloped-glass-to-air-volume-ratio, or not enough low AND high vent windows. Solar radiation, mostly the visible light spectrum, passes through the solar-oriented glass of windows or solar spaces, and is absorbed by surfaces of materials inside the insulated envelope of the building. This is still the general rule-of-thumb, but the introduction of energy conserving and radiation-modifying films, available in several major window lines, enables designers and builders to relax this rule. In passive solar houses with closed floor plans small squirrel-cage fans with ducts or parlor fans are used to aid in solar-heaed air distribution. Low angle winter sun allows for good solar penetration through the glazing, while high summer sun is reflected off the vertical glass.
Vertical glazing, even conventional fenestration, has many advantages due to its coefficient of reflectance. By comparison the passive solar house has many fewer possible technical breakdowns than the active solar house. Direct-gain windows should be oriented due south, although the orientation may be varied by as much as 30 degrees east or west of south without losing much efficiency.
While some of the solar heat is used immediately, walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture store the excess heat, which radiates into the space throughout the day and night. It is preferable to locate the thermal mass in direct sunlight (heated by radiation), but the mass that is located out of the direct sunlight (heated by air convection) is also important for overall performance. Tiles should be attached to the slab with a mortar adhesive and grouted, with complete contact, to the slab. If the mass is concentrated in a single wall, then its color should be dark--unless its surface is struck early in the day by sunlight, in which case its color should be light to diffuse the the light and heat into the rest of the space. Deciduous trees and shrubs planted to cast shadows on solar-oriented glazing can also create a micro-climate that is several degrees cooler than surrounding areas.
Privacy can also be a problem, since if the occupants can see out through the expanses of glass, the rest of the world can look in. Called the chimney effect, this principle, employed to cool the Indian Tipi, can also keep your passive solar house cool in any U.S.
Buckminter Fuller's ideas were very popular with the Back-to-the-Land Movement of the 1960s, and many direct gain passive solar domes were built across America.
Many designers, depending on their design strategy, prefer vertical glazing, or a combination of vertical and sloped glazing. The efficiency of a sunspace that combines vertical and some angled roof glazing will be higher than the vertically glazed sunspace, while retaining the maximum advantages of vertical glazing. The wall is left uninsulated so that the heat from the sunspace can be conducted through to the interior of the house. Movable insulation or a higher-R (resistance) glazing system will greatly improve the performance of the glazing.
I believe that continuing dissemination of this information through the Internet is very important in a time when earth's bio-environment is so endangered by the continued combustion of fossil fuel into the atmosphere.
The overhanging cliff allows the sun to strike the buildings in Winter, but shades them in Summer.
Given current and future projected fuel costs, the additional construction cost is recovered quickly.
As these heated surfaces re-radiate the energy into the interior of the house, the air temperature rises, but the heat is not efficiently re-radiated outside again through the glass, nor can the heated air escape, so the result is entrapped energy. In all cases the performance and comfort of the direct gain space will increase if the thermal mass (concrete, concrete block, brick, or adobe) within the space is increased. Thermal mass storage is as much as four times as effective when the mass is located so that the sun shines directly on it and it is subject to convective heating from warmed air as compared to only being heated by convection. Today's solarium has been modified for greater efficiency and typically is flush with the south wall of the house, therby eliminating the loss of energy from the east and west walls.
Rain and snow will wash the outside of the tilted glass pretty well, whereas vertical glass has the same maintenance problems as house windows. Non-storage materials should be lighter colors, so they will reflect light to the thermal mass that isn't in the sun.
West windows are a source of high heat gain during the summer, and should be shaded with exterior overhangs.
Generally, the house plan with a long east-west axis and optimized south-facing window wall will be the best passive solar house. In general, comfort and performance increase with increase of thermal mass, and there is no upper limit for the amount of thermal mass. If the sunlight from the clerestory first strikes high in the space, then the wall surface should be light in color to diffuse the light and heat downwards into the space. To minimize the overheating common in the early-style solarium, the roof is not glazed and the south wall is vertical rather than sloped.
The state-of-the-art solarium is sometimes a two-storey space, with French doors opening to rooms on both levels, allowing better circulation of solar-heated air throughout the house.
With this shadow science he had invented the 90Es angle--the foundation of geometry, and ultimately of rectangular architecture and urban grid planning.

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