Even though we live in the forest of western Washington, there's plenty of solar energy available. There are two ways of gathering solar energy:
The front of the house is oriented within just a few degrees of due south. Large windows allow the sunshine in.
- Roof Overhang
Overhangs above the south-facing windows are sized so they shade the windows in winter while allowing the sun to reach them in summer.
- Stone Mass
A massive "masonry heater" (also known as a Russian fireplace) is located in the center of the great room. In winter, the sunlight coming through the tall windows reaches this stone mass, which absorbs the heat and helps warm the room.
We expect our photovoltaic panels to serve about 30% of the home's electrical need.
|Image of the southerly horizon captured by a Solmetric meter. Horizontal lines indicate months, with June being the lowest line and December the highest line. Vertical lines indicate the sun's trajectory at various times of day.|
|Graphic indicating the solar energy available in each month. All months have a reasonable amount of solar energy available, with the exception of December when the sun doesn't rise above the conifers on our southern hill.|