Solar advice: Make your new home a sunny home

7/26/18, 5:00 PM -

When building a new home, you should consider these basic hints so that the largest possible share of your energy demand can be covered by PV.

To diminish the costs of living you need solar energy.

If the orientation of your house is wrong or the roof is in shade, even complex technology will not be able to make up for such deficiencies later on. There is a widely held opinion that solar generators are only efficient when mounted on a south-facing roof. This view is out-dated.

Orientation of the building: favour east and west!

It is better to orient solar panels towards the west and east. That way, the solar energy yields are spread out better across the day, and also match the consumption peaks, which are usually in the morning and evening. Ideally there should be three panels: one facing east, another one facing west and one facing south.

South-facing covered veranda!

If the house is going to have a flat roof, you can orient the solar panels as necessary. With pitched roofs, the panels should preferably be facing west or east, which means that the gable is oriented towards the south. In such cases it can be desirable to have an extensive south-facing veranda there and to cover it by a solar roof made from double-glass solar panels.

In the summer, this porch offers cool shade and shelter in case of thunderstorms, and in winter when the sun is lower in the sky and is not shaded by the roof, it brings light into the house and contributes to the heating system.

If possible, have large windows to the east and west!

Roofs and walls facing west and north-west face what in our latitudes is the windward side, i.e. where the wind and rain usually come from. Large windows should therefore always be designed to be facing east (rising sun!) and south.

South-facing glass facades should always have a canopy or marquee so that the rooms behind them do not overheat in summer.

Such a canopy can easily be built from glass-glass modules on a simple mullion construction made from wooden posts. A conservatory with a roof made from solar panels can also be a sensible idea.

However: The larger the glass frontage the house has, the better its thermal properties need to be: at least triple glazing. (HS)

Look at this, too:

Solar advice: Take care of the switch

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