Keya Lea

Our Solar System, To Scale

Our Solar System, To Scale

The video gives some perspective about our place in the solar system.

The video gives some perspective about our place in the solar system.

 Keya Lea

CalPoly’s INhouse

CalPoly’s INhouse

For the 2015 Solar Decathlon Building Competition, Cal Poly State University designed and build the INhouse, integrating a few smart passive solar features.     Some of the home’s features include: Clerestory windows to allow hot air to leave the building Palm oil, used as a phase change material, in the home’s core as the […]

 Keya Lea

A Passive Solar, Off-the-Grid Mountain Home

A Passive Solar, Off-the-Grid Mountain Home

It’s all about perspective. Hand-built and on the top of a mountain, it utilizes available water, sun and snow.

 Keya Lea

For Aggressive Efficiency, Choose Passive Solar

For Aggressive Efficiency, Choose Passive Solar

By NORBERT M. LECHNER As we discussed in the November/ December issue, low-hanging solar-responsive design strategies reduce a building’s energy consumption and typically cost less than the high-hanging solar-collecting technologies — or nothing at all. (See Choose the Low-Hanging Fruit by Lechner.) In this issue we focus on passive solar heating techniques.   Most passive […]

 Keya Lea

White is the Greenest Color

White is the Greenest Color

Text and photos by NORBERT M. LECHNER This article was first printed in the August 2012 issue of Solar Today. When it comes to solar-responsive design, perhaps the lowest-hanging fruit is choosing white. Selecting white design elements can save much energy, thereby saving money and helping to save the planet. White roofs dramatically reduce overheating […]

 Keya Lea

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!

It’s that time of year when the days are short as the sun travels its lowest and shallowest path across our sky.  Passive solar homes are ones that integrate with their environments and take this into account.   If a passive solar house has its windows facing the south, on the Winter Solstice, the sun’s […]

 Keya Lea

Passive Solar Down Under, the Te Kauwhata House

Passive Solar Down Under, the Te Kauwhata House

The Solarei Architecture firm based in New Zealand, is building sleek, efficient passive solar homes that integrate natural ventilation to help cool and heat the building, while respecting the surrounding environment by building sustainably. Based out of New Zealand and Bangkok, Thailand, Solarei is a young architecture firm building an impressive portfolio of passive solar […]

 Keya Lea

Playing the Angles for Solar-Responsive Design

Playing the Angles for Solar-Responsive Design

This article first appeared in the May 2012 issue of Solar Today. Text and Photos by NORBERT M. LECHNER In all but the simplest situations, knowledge of solar geometry is vital for creating successful solar-responsive designs. Even though we have known since Copernicus’ time that the Earth revolves around the sun, for our present purposes […]

 Keya Lea

Bridger Road – Waltman Rest Area

Bridger Road – Waltman Rest Area

It’s that time of the year – it’s summertime! As the days grow longer and warmer, it’s time to hit the road and explore the world around you. If you drive across Wyoming you might come across a series of passive solar rest areas.       Materials with thermal mass make up the building’s […]

 Keya Lea

Choose the Low-Hanging Fruit

Choose the Low-Hanging Fruit

This article was first published in Solar Today in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue. By NORBERT M. LECHNER For most people, “solar energy” invokes the technologies of photovoltaics (PV) and, more generally, active solar systems that use electrical or mechanical systems, like most solar water-heating systems. Unfortunately, these strategies are “high-hanging fruit” in that they are […]

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