Passive Solar in Heath Steele

This is a retirement home on the North West Miramichi that the couple spent decades designing and refining. The building is super-insulated, the bermed side walls (on 3 sides) calculated to have R52. Passive solar design reduces the cost of heating and a 1.2-m (4′) overhang reduces problems with overheating in summer.

The home has 4 zones served by in-floor circuits with glycol. The mixed dark and light tiles serve as heat absorption (dark) and reflect light (white) to balance heat and light absorption. The building is 22 × 11 m (72 × 36′) and designed to allow light to reach the back rooms throughout winter days.

The major challenge in building this structure was finding contractors with the courage to work the unconventional. The owners recommend paying attention to the contractors because of the unusual installation. Generally they found their home to be very comfortable and cost effective (despite the relatively high cost of propane, used rarely to supplement both heating and cooking). Air conditioning is installed but is rarely used.

Note both dark and light floor.

Homeowner on front (south) showing extensive glass with many windows.

Side and back (east and north) showing extent of berm

More detail on Passive Solar in Heath Steele

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