During some R&R in North Dakota a couple weeks ago I read this book by Dan Chiras about passive solar homes. The read really inspired me to makes some changes in my home and REALLY think about a number of design aspects in any future dwelling I build (like the garage maybe).
Much of the guidance you could chaulk up as common sense; insulation, air penetration, internal heat gain, but hearing about it in such detail really hammered home some things. And it also prompted me to buy an infrared thermometer so that I could understand where there are weaknesses and opportunities.
The book also made me much more aware of how the house and layout behaved during the cooling season. Ideas such as lighter color paint on the west, or best coverage of western windows constantly pops into mind. I also realized my southern overhang is overhung enough as its not protecting my southern windows during this cooling season. Also subtly frustrated with some of the non-insulative decisions we made on the original part of the house.
All in all, it’s one of the more thought provoking books I’ve read and has really motivated me to do better next time. And maybe next time is the garage, which we’re starting to discuss right now.
Since passive house design has that sense of being from the 70′s, I’m also trying to follow the guys at 100khouse.com to see if I can learn anything from them on their current passive house German standards design.