Tag Archives: passive solar heating

Visualizing Weather Data Using Climate Consultant

Green Building

Visualizing Weather Data Using Climate Consultant

Originally published on December 28, 2015 by BNP Media through the Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing Blog. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) provides public access to long-term climate data for over 2,100 locations throughout the world in formats suitable for the publicly-funded EnergyPlus whole-building energy modeling software. These files are chock-full of hourly weather data of 30-year averages for temperature, humidity, wind speeds, and much more. For residential projects and other skin-load dominated….

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Efficiency: Toward Net-Zero Energy (VoiceThread Presentation)

Green Building

Efficiency: Toward Net-Zero Energy (VoiceThread Presentation)

  Four years ago, I co-authored a white paper with my colleague Nick Worden at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (BDMD) Architects and William Brown, currently the Director of Sustainability at Indiana University. The white paper was published at 2010 International High Performance Buildings Conference at Purdue University and it presented a full-year of energy consumption and on-site renewable energy production data for the Chrisney Library (a branch of the Lincoln Heritage Public Library), verifying the project as the first non-residential net-zero (site) energy facility in Indiana….

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Technically, Heat Does Not Rise

Green Building

Technically, Heat Does Not Rise

© Kumiko Murakami Campos   Heat rises. The adage is one of the cornerstones of passive environmental systems in buildings. The typical anecdote is the hot-air balloon. By using a burner to thrust heated air into the (typically) nylon envelope, the balloon fills with less buoyant gas that lifts the it and its passenger(s) into the air. But what if I told you that this oversimplified statement actually misrepresents the characteristics of heat? The truth is – technically, heat does not rise…..

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Passive Agressive

Green Building

Passive Agressive

It’s been 40 years since the 1973 Oil Crisis thrust the United States to the forefront of passive solar heating. But have technologically advanced building systems rendered passive strategies obsolete? Originally published in the August 2013 issue of Environmental Design + Construction (EDC) magazine. LEED v4 for Homes contains a three-point credit for optimizing a building’s orientation for passive solar heating. Details of the credit are specific to managing the amount, shading and orientation of south-facing glass. These are sound….

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Getting Your Bearings

Green Building

Getting Your Bearings

Solar south is a key component to passive solar heating and other strategies. So, how does one find it? About 10 years ago, I came across an essay by architect and eco-visionary William McDonough in which he pointed out that many architects “no longer rely on the sun to heat or illuminate buildings and consequently few know how to find true South.” True South? I was perplexed. Once a First Class Boy Scout, I was well versed with using a….

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Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass? (EDC Magazine Edition)

Green Building

Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass? (EDC Magazine Edition)

A classic example of a roofpond application, the Atascadero House (Atascadero, Calif.) was designed with the assistance of Harold R. Hay and built in 1973. Photo credit: John Reynolds. Thermal mass is an essential component for any passive solar heating or cooling strategy. It’s useful because it absorbs solar energy and provides inertia against interior temperature fluctuations despite diurnal temperature cycles. Design teams can introduce thermal mass into projects in a number of ways. Baked clay, adobe and various types….

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The Invention of the Roofpond System

Green Building

The Invention of the Roofpond System

The roofpond system has always been a dark horse of sorts in the realm of passive solar heating and cooling. Most literature on passive systems will pay lip service to roofponds, but few give credence to the system’s immense potential as exemplified by various case studies with well-documented performance. The reason that the roofpond is often overlooked is two-fold. First, the system has always had a difficult time  “fitting in” with any one category of environmental control systems. It can be used….

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Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass

Green Building

Water: The Ideal Thermal Mass

What if I told you that I knew about a building product that: Has three times the thermal storage capacity of concrete. Has only half the weight of brick. Is completely non-toxic. Is completely transparent. Is inherently fire-resistant. Is abundantly available in the U.S. at virtually zero cost (at least for the time being). That’s right. I’m talking about water. The nectar of life. Throughout the history of passive solar heating, there are many accounts of innovative thinkers using water as a thermal….

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