Would you like to enjoy a solar home? Here we list the architectural design guidelines that must be followed to carry out this type of construction

solar houses

Solar houses are buildings that use solar energy to obtain thermal energy, heat water and produce electricity. The solar house consists of a thermally insulated core, capable of accumulating heat. A glass gallery, also called a greenhouse or conservatory, faces north (towards the southern hemisphere) or south (towards the northern hemisphere). This practice generates a thermal gain between 30 to 40% of the heating needs.

To build a solar house it is essential to have adequate guidance and to avoid or eliminate barriers that prevent the correct incidence of sunlight. The main functions of the building are developed at the core. The heated spaces must be grouped on the north and east facades (in the case of the southern hemisphere). The service rooms, stairs, corridors, bathrooms and toilets are located at the rear.

Design and calculation methodology applied in Solar Architecture

Objective: To optimize the relationship between the energy performance of the building, its final destination and the climate of the place, so that the building maintains comfort conditions with minimal or no external energy input.

Architecture Methodology for a Solar House

  1. Analysis of the site: The following should be taken into account:
    1. Latitude and altitude of the site area.
    2. Duration in intensity of solar radiation.
    3. External air temperature and variability.
    4. Average annual temperatures.
    5. Relative humidity.
    6. Rain
    7. Wind intensity, frequency and direction.
    8. Degree of cloudiness and frequency.
  2. Design guidelines: to consider
    1. Orientation, to take advantage of the action of the winds, the light and the intensity of solar radiation.
    2. Planning of volumes according to the dimensions of the walls, doors, windows and the height and inclination of the ceilings.
    3. Color and texture of internal and external materials and coatings.
    4. Complements to regulate the internal climate of solar homes, such as windows, blinds, curtains, overhangs, etc.
    5. Use of the foliage and the plant to partially or completely filter the sunstroke and mitigate the effects of the wind on solar houses.
  3. Constructive characteristics: Must be taken into consideration
    1. Storage of excess heat in the building mass.
    2. Cooling the building at night due to the effect of radiation and external air convection.
    3. Annual movements of the shadows cast by the surrounding bodies, whether natural or artificial.
    4. Temperature of the interior surfaces to regulate the heat exchange by radiation of the human body, as well as the adaptation of the temperature to achieve comfort.
  4. Design parameters: to be considered
    1. Capture form. (direct or indirect).
    2. Form of heat transmission. (active or passive).
    3. Accumulation.
    4. Restitution.
    5. Conservation.
  5. Thermal balance

In general terms, the thermal conditions of a building depend on the magnitude of the heat losses and gains that it is experiencing at any given time. The solar house will tend to heat up when the heat gains are greater than the losses and, otherwise, it will cool down. In any case, uncomfortable interior conditions can be achieved, which, in extreme situations, will require the neutralization of artificial air conditioning systems (cooling and / or heating).

According to the thermal balance equation method, the thermal balance of a building occurs when the sum of heat losses and gains is equal to zero.