Monday, May 31, 2010

A Solar House

We had a chance to stop by our friends Katie and Andrew's
 solar house at their urban farm in the bosque.
Theirs is a combination of passive solar space heating
 and solar photovoltaic panels for making electricity.

From the solar photovoltaic panels on the roof electrical current 
goes to the inverter to supply the house and any excess current
 goes back to the public utility grid, which means no batteries
 to store excess power, typically the weak link
 in solar electric systems.

The meter here is running backwards which means the utility
 pays for any electricity that goes back into the system.

The warm air from the greenhouse helps to heat the house in the winter.

Looking in the door you can notice the back wall is painted rainbow
 colors to help absorb heat from the low winter sun when it shines
 on the wall. The concrete floor also helps absorb and hold the heat.

The two story trombe wall is to the back 
and on the right part of the house.

The winter sun shines on the adobe wall behind the glass 
warming it up and helping to heat the house.
 This one is vented to the room behind the wall and the bricks 
are not painted black unlike other trombe walls.
 To vent or not to vent as well as the color of the bricks
 seems not to affect the performance of the heat gain.
To see more on solar greenhouses and trombe walls
 from my post on 2/10/10 click here.

The complete set of posts on Katie and Andrew's urban farm: