The design of your home is so important. The choices you make during the design process ultimately affect every aspect of your new home.
In Rockville, Maryland, home design and construction considerations, I believe often don’t include how their home can use the benefits of the sun. During this time of high energy prices, and a desperate need to conserve resources both for our own pockets and for the preservation of the earth, we must try to maximize the sun’s power. I’m not trying to convince you to run out and buy a solar power system (generally termed active solar). I want to let you know about some very simple things you can do, with a bit of planning and thought, to create a passive solar design for your new home.
First off, you must situate your home so that the primary rooms of use (living room, kitchen, office, etc) will face south and the other less used rooms like the laundry room or pantry, are on the north end of the home. Southern exposure means that these rooms will be exposed to direct sunlight for the most time each day. To make this happen though, you need to have windows. The more the better! Selecting “low-e” windows can help with energy savings also. These windows trap 40 -70% more heat inside than conventional windows.
Now, with all these windows, you may want to make plans to construct some type of overhang. This would act to shield the home from too much sun in the summer while still allowing the maximum amount of light in during the winter. Some ideas (aside from simply utilizing the proper sized roof eves) are awnings, trellises, or even vegetation (trees or vines). Vegetation is great because you don’t have to worry about building the overhang too big that it effects your winter light. Vegetation creates a seasonal overhang! It is also beneficial to make sure all of your windows are operable (open and close). This helps with the air flow and as a result can eliminate your need for an overhang in some situations.
Another thing to consider is how the flow of air will move through your home. You don’t want to build a lovely window filled, south facing room all walled off from the rest of the house. Constructing a “Great Room” is just one of the ways you can help all of the warm air to get to as many places in the home as possible
Working with a Rockville, MD general contractor and architect such as Don Hartman to create a passive solar home is a positive choice. The sun warming your house in the dead of winter makes those short cold days in our area so much more bearable and the energy savings can really be substantial. But, you must think about how you can use the sun during the design stages of the building process to make it all work.