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Are there passive solar designs that have large north side windows?

Our land has spectacular bluff view, which we want to enjoy from inside, so having some large windows facing the bluff are a desirable feature for our future home plans. Unfortunately the bluff faces NORTH. We would like to use passive solar design, but from what I have read, windows need to be kept to a minimum on the north. What can we do to maximize solar heat gain without sacrificing our view?

Asked by Kirk Smith
Posted Jun 29, 2014 7:51 PM ET
Edited Jun 30, 2014 8:09 AM ET


4 Answers

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Facing a similar situation, my thoughts are: Use windows facing south for solar gain and accept the loss of heat on the north. Make the north facing windows "fixed" , less tall and more wide to maximize the "view" while minimizing the heat loss. Well fitted "cellular" shades that are kept closed overnight can help further reduce the heat loss from all windows..

Answered by Jerry Liebler
Posted Jun 29, 2014 8:09 PM ET


I agree with Jerry - we've faced this problem in houses we've built. You need to get creative and make decisions on the bare minimum amount of glazing you think you need to capture the views.

Answered by Dan Kolbert
Posted Jun 29, 2014 9:06 PM ET


One final point: make sure that those north-facing windows are triple-glazed units with the lowest possible U-factor.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Jun 30, 2014 6:38 AM ET


Climate matters
Which Hemisphere and Climate Zone?
Triple glazed in San Diego might be "overkill"

Answered by John Brooks
Posted Jun 30, 2014 8:50 AM ET

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