passive cooling techniques





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6/24/2011
This home in the Florida Keys captures prevailing breezes and takes advantage of passive cooling techniques such as open walls and a reflective roof to keep its occupants cool and comfortable without air conditioning.
5/19/2011
Take a lesson from Southerners, who know a thing or two about keeping cool naturally. These homes take advantage of old-fashioned and cutting-edge passive cooling techniques to stay temperate even during hot Southern summers.
3/13/2013
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
10/12/2011
These three super cookbooks focused on technique will arm you with the most important ingredient in any dish: skill! Includes reviews of “Forgotten Skills of Cooking” by Darina Allen, “Good Meat” by Deborah Krasner and “Chef on Fire” by Joseph Carey.
1/23/2009
Could you heat your house with a hair dryer? Super-efficient Passive Houses use very little energy.
12/31/2008
Passive Houses use only 5 percent of heating energy compared to traditional houses.
6/18/2010
Use naturally cool nighttime air to provide summer comfort. It's a lot easier than you think and it can save you a fortune on cooling costs.
12/16/2012
Outlining our process for locating a suitable location for finding a new homestead.
3/23/2011
Learn how to buy, cook and preserve rhubarb.
2/27/2009
Weatherizing your home saves you money. Just a few simple changes can greatly reduce the amount of energy your home requires to stay comfortable. Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence fills you in on how to weatherize your home and collect stimulus money.
8/12/2009
An attic fan may not reduce your air conditioning costs, but a whole-house fan is a different story.
5/9/2011
When a group of graduation students began designing a home on the Navajo reservation in southeast Utah, they knew keeping it cool in the desert would be an issue. Their innovative solution--a Windcatcher--is the first of its kind in the area.
1/29/2013
Here is an easier way to blanche vegetables, such as green beans, before freezing them.
7/31/2008
Have you thought about adding more insulation to your home to reduce your energy bills? Here are some good places to go for more information.
4/15/2014
The ongoing debate between the merits and faults of Passive House design and passive solar design is important for those looking to build an energy-efficient home and for all enthusiasts of energy-efficient building. We've opened up the discussion to our online audience in this blog post. Please share your thoughts!
12/1/2009
Today most new homes are sited without any reference to solar energy at all. A few builders are catching on, however, and making the simple adjustments necessary to turn new houses into solar collectors by adhering to the tenets of passive solar building. Learn more about how passive solar works and its benefits.
6/23/2010
Ceiling fans help cool people naturally, and use a lot less energy than air conditioners. Use them to save on energy.
5/6/2014
Spring is the perfect time to give your home cooling equipment a check-up before hot weather arrives.
8/25/2010
MAX is back at the shop, awaiting diagnosis and correction of an overheating problem, plus some additional body work before its next venture.
6/23/2009
Let's dream a little dream of green home improvement, without worries about funding.
6/17/2011
Geothermal heating and cooling systems rely on the earth’s constant underground temperature of 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to provide comfortable indoor climates. The technology works in any size or style home, in nearly any setting on earth.
7/22/2010
Results of the long-awaited cooling system test, which shows how little air MAX needs through the radiator.
8/18/2011
On a summertime cross country trip from Oregon to Ohio, I restricted MAX's radiator inlet air a little at a time, demonstrating that very little inlet area (28 square inches) provides sufficient air for cooling.
11/29/2013
As the importance of solar architecture grew, the southern aspect took on great stature in Chinese life. Ancient wisdom associated the south with fire and warmth, while the north came to be synonymous with winter and somberness. The Emperor facing south therefore shuns darkness and embraces enlightenment to govern. The Chinese to this day prefer a southern orientation for housing.
3/20/2014
Passive House standards incorporate passive solar design principles, but the two labels don’t mean the same thing. Learn about the difference between passive solar design and Passive House certification.
5/19/2011
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
7/1/2013
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
6/11/2013
One of the easiest ways to bask and rejoice in the gifts of nature is to make and use a solar wall heater.
2/4/2010
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
1/30/2014
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
1/17/2014
It seems only common sense that you don’t depend on a single source alone for life-giving home heat in the winter.
1/15/2014
Keep your greenhouse above freezing during short cold periods without paying for a heater.
6/16/2011
Americans are being asked to turn up the thermostat 3 degrees on June 21. If you find you don't notice the difference, why not keep it up? You will notice the difference in your electric bill.
7/29/2011
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
5/7/2013
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
5/3/2013
A three-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
6/4/2013
Architect Debra Rucker Coleman shares tips for converting your home to passive solar energy.
3/12/2010
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
2/11/2010
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun  would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
5/28/2013
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
12/11/2013
Never in the history of the world has there been such a high-ranking member of society to advocate passive solar design than Socrates. He felt so strongly for building with the sun in mind that he even set up a class to teach his acolytes how the finer points of putting up a passive solar house.
1/6/2014
When writing his great work On Architecture, Rome’s greatest solar architect Vitruvius emphasized proper solar orientation for buildings and bath houses.
4/11/2014
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
4/27/2011
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
3/11/2011
Chris Larson's Asheville, North Carolina, home--already a superb example of smart, passive solar design--gets even better with the addition of solar hot water collectors.
6/20/2011
Matt and Kelly Grocoff keep cool in Michigan by taking advantage of their 110-year-old home's natural ventilation strategies. It's as easy as opening a couple of strategically placed windows.
6/5/2012
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
6/21/2012
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
1/19/2012
This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.
2/3/2010
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
10/1/2012
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
6/14/2012
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
10/28/2012
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
10/28/2012
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
11/3/2012
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
11/11/2012
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
11/11/2012
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
11/19/2012
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
10/1/2012
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
1/10/2011
As Passive House Institute standards up the ante, USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” list reflects Americans’ desire for affordability, efficiency and style.
5/13/2010
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
2/4/2011
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
8/5/2012
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
11/19/2012
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
11/19/2012
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.


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