Saturday, December 27, 2008

passive solar

Here is my favorite place to roost: a rocking chair in front of the wood stove, on the slate floor.

When we designed this place from a description we saw in a book from the library, one of our first considerations was alignment with the sun. We wanted to take full advantage of that low horizon sunlight that sometimes appears on a winter's day, for both light and heat. We also wanted to place the wood stove, the main source of heat, as close to the center of the house as possible, not backed up against some wall somewhere, so it would heat most of the house evenly.

We have now had the opportunity to put our design to the test of subzero weather, and overall things are functioning quite well. I admit there have been some times when some parts of the house were chilly, and the wood stove has barely kept up. We bought two stand alone radiator-type electric heaters for the family room and Calvin's bedroom, and they have helped (although I'm scared to check out my latest electric bill online!) But then again, we don't have the extra insulation of flooring and drywall in many areas of the house yet, nor is the skirting around the base of the house complete. I think these elements could make a difference.

So many houses around here appear to be just dropped on a piece of land without any basic consideration for how they blend in, nor how heating and cooling could be augmented naturally. I can feel the difference a sunny day makes in the house, and Bloof the cat seems to appreciate it as well.

Actually, this photo was taken a week or so ago. Today we have not seen the sun, but the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees, relatively mild.


Kathie said...

It all looks so cozy. I'd love to sit there too... I can bring brandied cherries & cake to share ;)

forest wisdom said...

I like it!
Kudos to y'all for putting such careful thought into this. I'm sure it will pay great dividends as you go....

Floridacracker said...

Bloof the cat! Bloof!
Too funny.
I think your house is so interesting.

30 degrees mild ... only in Minnesotarctica.

Deb said...

Kathie- I'm putting the coffee on right now. Watch the roads between Montana and here. :)

Forest Wisdom- We plan to build a wall behind the woodstove, thermal mass to capture heat. Great dividends indeed.

FC- Bloof is the best lap kitty ever. And he starts bothering me at 4 AM! Amazing!

I walked out more than once in short sleeves today.

MojoMan said...

What kind of insulation do you have, fiberglass in 2x6 walls? I bet things will be warmer when all the drywall is sealed up and air infiltration is reduced.

Jayne said...

I love a sunny window and I can see why that will be a favorite spot!

Deb said...

MojoMan- Yes, fiberglass in 2x6 walls. I think you're right, the drywall will keep the winds from finding a way in.

Jayne- my bird feeders are visible from that window, so that makes it all the better!