We see articles about why you should build your next home as passive solar. But no one talks about why you absolutely should not. If you are like any of these people, you won’t be happy with your new home.

Says Keith Hutchings, Founder The Comfortable Home Project.

If you are really competitive

There are people around, I’ve heard of them, but never met any, that are so competitive, that they get excited if their energy bill, when it arrives each month, is bigger than the previous one. But if you are like this, and you build passive solar, chances are good that you will have little or no expenses to keep your house comfortable, it will be comfortable, by design. With the average family in Australia spending 1500 to 2000 dollars a year, and a recent passive solar homeowner that I interviewed spending $40 dollars a month, with no window coverings in their new home for the first year, you will have no chance of winning the “highest possible energy bills” competition

If you like yelling at your kids

This is a big problem for those of us who really enjoy spending our days shouting at our kids. My mother spent most of our childhood yelling at us kids who, you would think were, born in the proverbial barn. All summer it was “close the door, the air conditioner is on” and all winter it was “Close the door, the heating is on”. There was about two weeks in spring and autumn where the inside and outside temperatures were close enough that she was spared this. If this is how you love to spend your days, you are going to hate your new passive solar home.

In winter, you use the suns energy to heat the mass of the house, the walls and floor. If the kids leave the doors open, again, sure the house cools off, but the mass is holding the heat, not the air being heated with an air conditioner. So, when you close up the house, that heat comes radiating back out and warms the house back up again, and costs you nothing (See paragraph above)

In summer, again, it is the cool night air that is stored in that mass, the house is designed to keep the sun out and be cooled by flushing out the days heat with the prevailing breeze. So, you want the doors open in the afternoon to carry the heat out. Can’t very well shout at the kids for making the house more comfortable, can you?

If you like the smell of your gym shoes

I imagine some people must love all the nasty smell of the things in their home. Their gym shoes, that piece of fish that slipped to the back of the fridge and turned into a science project, the cat box. Because the way most people are living right now, bathing in the smell of their homes, we seal up our houses and then cool them down with air conditioning.

A Passive solar house is designed to be cooled using shading, convection to carry the heat out and the venturi effect to enhance the prevailing breeze to keep it cool. So, if you are like the sports star I had as a house mate in college, who saw nothing wrong with keeping his gym shoes in the fridge so they were cool when he put them on, keep doing that with your house, and whatever you do, never, never, build a passive solar house.

However, if you like being seen as a sane person by your neighbors and not having to shout at your kids, if you have more interesting things to spend money on then your energy bills, if you don’t think breathing gym shoe air is a good idea, talk to your local building designer who specialises in passive solar before you think about your new home or renovation.

For further information on  Passive Solar House Design

Many thanks to our guest blogger, Keith Hutchings

The Comfortable Home Project.

Sharing his knowledge and inspiring others to build comfortable high-performance homes.

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