Want the Most Energy Efficient House Possible? Consider a Passive Solar Home

by 55+ Active Adult Community -Founders' Ridge 01/26/2020

Most of the time, we build homes to our taste rather than to their environment. And while it’s important to have a home that you love to look at, it’s also necessary to take your local climate and surroundings into account.

One of the best up-and-coming home architecture styles features something called “passive solar” design.

In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to passive solar and talk about why so many homeowners are choosing passive solar homes in today’s age of rising energy costs.

What is a passive solar home?

Passive solar homes utilize four main things to ensure the lowest possible energy usage:

  • The building site

  • The area’s climate and weather

  • Strict building standards involving top quality materials and airtight construction

Let’s talk a bit about how these three features help make passive solar homes the most energy efficient homes currently available.

Choosing a site for a passive home can be a complicated and scientific endeavor. In colder climates, this means allowing the home to utilize as much sunlight as possible. The building site, therefore, has to take into account the sun’s path throughout the year to provide the home with the best angles for maximum sunlight.

Since sunlight travels lower on the horizon in the winter months and higher in summer months, roofs and overhangs are designed to let in maximum light in the winter time and block out light that would overheat your home in the summertime.

Airflow throughout your home is vital to maintaining comfortable temperatures year-round. Passive homes rely on a heat exchanger system that uses heat from warm areas of your home to heat air that is vented in from the outside.

This means that the air in your home is constantly being circulated and heated without relying on too many outside sources.

Building materials are another key part to passive solar homes. To make an airtight home, special types of sealing and insulation is used.

Furthermore, insulated areas of your home are designed to absorb sunlight throughout the day and slowly release heat after the sun goes down, providing a natural source of heat for the entire 24 hour cycle.

Can I convert my current house into a passive solar home?

While making a home adhere to passive house standards typically requires planning at the construction phase, there are some ways to utilize passive solar techniques in your current home.

Making your home airtight, using thermal mass to slowly heat your home overnight, and taking advantage of heat from the sun are all things that can be retrofitted to a home.

Making these improvements can take time, especially if you plan to change window locations or build an overhanging roof. However, you might find that the upgrades will save you money on energy costs and add to the resale value of your home.

About the Author
Author

55+ Active Adult Community -Founders' Ridge

Set on a picturesque hill and centrally located in the desirable Westfield Section of Middletown, Founders’ Ridge is a New 55+ Condominium Community of up to 75 Ranch and Cape Style detached homes.  Named for the Founding Fathers and Mothers of Middletown, each model bears the name of one of our town’s founders – The Allen, The Martin, The Cornwell, and The Whitmore to name a few. 

Attractively priced from $319,900.00, our homes range from approximately 1200 Sq. Ft. to 2250 Sq. Ft.  Our models offer 2 – 4 bedrooms, attached 2 car garages, natural gas heat and AC, city water and sewer and all underground utilities.  Standard features include wood kitchens with granite tops, stainless steel appliances, tiled laundry and baths, hardwood in living areas, paver patios or decks, paved driveways and professional landscaping.
Founders’ Ridge offers a unique agreement with adjacent Ascentria Care’s Luther Ridge, private apartment living for residents age 62+.  Residents of our community have access to meeting and game rooms, and even dining opportunities (for a small fee) all of which are accessed via quiet, peaceful walking trials connecting both communities.

Centrally located on the Connecticut River, the City of Middletown boasts amenities for any lifestyle.  Residents may take advantage of The Institute for Lifelong Learning at Wesleyan University as well as various other university community activities.  The active Middlesex Historical Society offers additional programs such as museum exhibits, walking tours, and re-enactments among its many events.  Wadsworth Mansion offers a summer concert series and our river and parks offer a wonderful opportunity to explore the outdoors.  Also located in the downtown area is Middlesex Hospital, affiliated with the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, Middlesex offers quality medical care and world class technology.  

We would be remiss if we did not mention our thriving Main Street, famous for award winning cuisine at over 30 restaurant locations, and a Downtown Business District boasting over 40 shops for unique purchases and window shopping and a calendar full of events, performances and more.  Don’t forget about the newly opened RJ Julia & Wesleyan Bookstore alive with frequent happenings and book signings by famous authors.  Our community truly offers something for everyone!