All houses are solar. The sun shines on almost every home, many days
throughout the year. The question is, to what extent are you utilizing the
sunlight? This book has been written to help you to take advantage of this
The first part of the book will acquaint you with the basic concepts
involved in solar design. Notice that we have included ten easy-to-follow
"Solar Principles," each one illustrating a key consideration in building
solar homes. As you progress through the chapters, the discussion will get
more specific and more technical, incorporating many formulas and equations
needed to actually factor the solar principles into effective solar home
designs. Do not be discouraged if you do not instantly grasp the
mathematics. What is important is that you understand the concepts so that,
with the help of a professional designer, you will be able to include solar
features in the plan for your home.
The knowledge imparted in this book has been accumulated from over 30
years of data gathered from several hundred solar homes located in the
northern tier of the United States, from North Carolina to and including
Canada and west to the mountain states. These are locations that are
primarily focused on heating. Authors of other solar books have raised
concerns about the possible buildup of mold or other airborne problems in
ventilated slabs. If the design described in this book is used in low-lying
and high-moisture locations, the concerns raised may very well be valid. See
chapter 7 for a more detailed discussion of this topic.
Great care has been taken to provide accurate and factual information
based on over twenty-five years of solar home-design experience. I wish that
I could make competent solar designers and builders out of every reader, yet
the disciplines needed to design and construct homes take years of education
and apprenticeship to learn. If you do not possess these skills, please
consult with or hire professionals. While this book's technical data and
equations will be widely applicable for the technically trained, hopefully
the book will also spark an enthusiasm among non-technical readers for the
limitless potential of solar energy.
Wouldn't it be nice if your house, too, could spend next winter heating
itself, naturally, with free heat from the sun?