Friday, June 6, 2008

Incorporating Solar Energy into a Green Home (Part 3)

Here’s the third blog in our solar series. We’ve already talked about how you can heat the space and heat the water in your home using solar energy. You can also use solar energy to light the inside & outside of your green home through a design technique called daylighting. By using daylighting, you can make the most of the home’s placement on your site as well as the location of skylights and windows to bring sunlight into the home.

South- and even north-facing windows are advantageous for daylighting. In the northern hemisphere because of the earth’s tilt on its axis, south-facing windows are the most beneficial for daylighting. South-facing windows allow direct winter sunlight into the home and with proper design minimize solar heat gain in the summer while allowing for indirect southern lighting. North-facing windows allow even, natural lighting with little glare and minimal summer heat gain.

Outdoor solar lighting & way-finding are not only inexpensive and easy to install, they consume no electricity! Sunlight is converted to energy in solar cells and stored in batteries for use at night. Lights vary in design according to the climate and geographical location, so make sure you get the right kind for your area. The lights, when exposed to direct sunlight for the recommended number of hours, can be used for security or to light a pathway. Performance will vary according to placement, outdoor temperatures, and brand and style of light selected.

If you still aren’t sure about including a solar energy system into your new home, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website on “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy”. They have a tremendous amount of information, charts, and calculations to browse through to help you make the right decision.

Jackie Lampiasi, Marketing Director
Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC

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