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Solar Orientation and Design for the Sustainable House

The correct orientation of a house can make a significant difference to the livability and the energy costs associated with heating and cooling. Sustainable house design will make the most of the local conditions. Variations in climate types will obviously have a significant variation on the design parameters. A sustainable house design for a tropical climate will not generate the same efficiencies in a temperate climate.

House Orientation

The fundamental principals behind any sustainable design are to use the natural heat of the sun and cooler temperatures of the evening to maintain a high standard of livability. Correct design should minimize and in many cases eliminate the need for mechanized heating and cooling systems. Your home should complement the natural light, heating and cooling influences, of the sun, breezes and vegetation. The ideal orientation is the longest axis of your home and living areas should run east to with the north face having exposure to the sun when required and shading options when the heating is not required. Tropical homes require shade structures on all sides for maximum benefit.

Windows
The location and design of windows in your house is critical to the success of the how your house will be heated and cooled. The use of louvres either horizontal or vertical in orientation or casement windows is generally superior to sliding windows as it provides residents with greater opportunities to control air circulation through the home. There is a broad range of glass options on the market, however you should give close attention to the type of glass selected. You should be conscious of the insulation values, heat reflection capacity and penetration of natural light with your glass selection. Furthermore, correctly orientated shade structures ensure that the hot summer sunshine is kept out whilst facilitating the access of the winter sun.

Material Selection and Insulation

Material selection is very important to consider dense materials are preferable in more temperate climates as they are able to release heat, whilst lighter materials are characteristically quicker to cool and subsequently are preferable in tropical conditions. The combination of insulation with the material selection will provide significant benefits to the livability of your house. The installation of insulation in walls, ceiling and under floors is essential for the livability of your home. Generally the selection of insulation should involve a combination of both reflective and bulk types of insulation.

Materials selection for your home also should consider the all of life cycle cost of the material, often termed a cradle to grave analysis. Different materials have different life cycle costs, for example the selection of timber from a local plantation source rather than cheap timber imported from an Indonesian or other third world country with few statutory controls over natural resource is a much more sustainable option. Most reputable material supply companies that are committed to the long-term sustainable productivity will have ISO 14 001 certified Environment Management System in place. Choose your suppliers carefully and support those who have an Environment Management System and are committed to the continued improvement of their environmental performance. Remember the reuse of any resource is better than the use of a recycled, renewable or non-renewable resource.Related Sites:House Solar panels

The energy rating of your proposed new home or renovation can be determined through a computer modeling programs. Your can further refine the design of your home through these programs to maximize the over all efficiency of the design.Here is a great example of a passive solar home

Whilst the design process may take a little longer than ordering a standard project home, the long-term benefits of the integration of all the design elements will benefit you from both a financial and livability perspective for the life of your home.

Sustainable House Design

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