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re: building a passive solar house - how?
15 dec 2001
mrduck  wrote:

>> trombe walls are extraordinarily inefficient. direct gain sucks too.
>is it better than nothing?

as in an open wall with the wind whistling in? sure :-) i define trombe
walls as those with no insulation, just thermal mass behind glass. at best,
they don't lose heat on an average day, like infinite insulation, but
they don't provide much heat for the rest of the house either, and they
lose lots of heat at night and on cloudy days. 

>you wouldn't even consider implementing a south-facing tile floor or
>a short trombe wall to gain heat?

the tile floor sounds ok, if you must have a window for views or daylight
or code reasons. it may not be needed, if the window provides less solar
heat than the room needs on an average winter day. 
>re: instead of direct gain floors:
>> there are more efficient and less expensive ways to
>> store solar heat, eg a concentrating solar attic with a transparent steep
>> south roof and a shallow trough along the floor under the reflective
>> parabolic north wall. it isn't hard to make parabolic rafters. just
>> cut some identical saw kerfs along one edge, more near the focus and
>> fewer near the straighter ends, in predetermined positions.
>do you have a link or pic of what you mean here?  i'm lost...

i don't have a picture, but my web site has more words. you might
download the whole text file and look at every reference to "parabola." 
>maybe this will help, too, it's a crude ascii drawing of the current house
>and the garage.:
i can't make much sense of this. you might try again in courier font.

>    _____
>    |p p p|                        ^
>__|h h h h|                  n
>|c|h h h h|
> d         ----
> ddd|gg  |
> ddd|gg  |
> ddd
> ddd
>p is back porch
>h is house
>c is a carport
>g is the garage
>d is the driveway
>i'm concerned that a conventional architect wouldn't be interested in
>designing anything with alternative energy souces (unless i could find one
>that does specialize in it) and we'd have a great-looking house but with a
>super-sucking heating bill.

you can probably find an architect who can accomodate pv panels...

try finding one who will guarantee that your backup heating fuel bill
will not exceed $200 per year :-)


nicholson l. pine                      system design and consulting
pine associates, ltd.                           (610) 489-1475/0545 
821 collegeville road                           fax: (610) 489-7057
collegeville, pa 19426                     email:

computer simulation and modeling. high performance, low cost, solar heating
and cogeneration system design. bsee, msee. senior member, ieee. registered
us patent agent. web site: 

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