Synergistic Passive Solar Design is a unique strategy that combines the design elements of orientation, thermal mass, windcatchers, solar water heating, and daylighting to synergistically reduce energy consumption. From this we propose a model of synergistic passive solar design (SPD) for homes in North Texas.
How does Synergistic Passive Solar Design work?
Passive solar strategies are the foundation of low energy building designs. To build on this foundation, designers look at how all the building's components can be engineered to work together as a whole. Rather than viewing a building as a collection of independent parts, many of today's architects are adopting a, "whole-building" approach to design . Our proposal for Synergistic Passive Solar Design embraces this "whole-building" approach to create an effect that is greater than the sum of all of the individual elements.
Why use Synergistic Passive Solar Design?
The environment provides free energy which can be harvested for personal comfort. Why not use it? Through the use of our Synergistic Passive Solar Design, we harness this environmental energy and transform it into focused energy sources for residential homes.
In evaluating potential design strategies, it is important to think in terms of life-cycle costs rather than initial costs. Life-cycle cost analysis takes into account factors such as durability; energy cost savings over a component's or building's anticipated life; and the component's impacts on maintenance, replacement, and disposal costs, among other considerations . The U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Management Program (DOE FEMP) has developed a number of tools that can help designers determine life-cycle costs; see FEMP's Web site at http://www.eren.doe.gov/femp/.
An increase in the design cost of 2% to 4% over that of conventional buildings is considered acceptable for most sustainable, low-energy building designs. Buildings with unusually high heating or cooling demands may require slightly high expenditure. However, these increases, and those associated with materials and system enhancements, are often recouped in the first few years of operation through energy savings alone. This simple payback period can be calculated using the energy analysis programs developed by DOE .
Our Synergistic Passive Solar Design proposal assumes this "whole-building" approach and creates a new dimension of resilience in the design to temperature differences.
Ecological Benefits: The passive solar strategies that are incorporated into our proposal for Synergistic Passive Solar Design meet the following goals: they reduce pollution and atmospheric greenhouse gases, they alleviate the strain on our nation's gas and electric utilities, and they help conserve conventional fossil fuels like oil and natural gas .
This video, not affiliated with our group, shows how the broad concept of Passive Solar can cost 5% to 10% more on the construction, and can give results of up to 90% reduction costs on energy bills.
Text from the YouTube description: What is passive solar house design, how much does it cost and how much money can it save a home owner? Jeff Yin interviews Colorado green architect Thomas Doerr to learn these things and more about passive solar home design.