Help me modernize my 1980 passive solar home
We moved into this home last summer and I’d love to hear some ideas about how I can bring it more in line with current best practices and science. I’m located in western CO, zone 5. High desert climate.
The sunroom and surrounding design is what I’m most curious about. It’s great on winter afternoons but then bleeds heat at night and builds up heat in the summer. The sunroom is open to the crawl space through decking on the floor and to the attic through slats at the the roofline. The attic is unvented but there are operable vents that open for the summer with a garage door opener which allows hot sunroom air to vent and pull cooler air from the crawl space.
Heating and cooling is an area I’m wondering if I can improve on:
-Cooling is via an evaporative cooler, which is very common in the area. It works well and is efficient if a little heavy-handed and loud. When it is running a lot it also greatly increases inside humidity, which can be problematic with the swing to our very dry winters.
-Heating aside from the sunroom is electric baseboard heaters, which were expensive to run and hard to control at the source last winter. I looked into smart thermostats but I don’t have the right wire configuration. Im currently remodeling part of the garage into a media room/office and will use a mini-split and am wondering if another unit or two would work for the rest of the house (thinking a unit upstairs for the bedrooms with short duct runs and one downstairs?)
-Insulation is 2×6 batts
-windows are probably 20 years old…I replaced trim on one and was shocked that insulation wasn’t replaced around the window and fear others are the same
-crawl space walls have 2” eps but much of it has fallen down or was removed for some reason for some kind of work done in the crawl space. No insulation in the floor joists.
-I also wonder if the double wall between garage and house should be sealed off. Seems im just surrounding the house with cold crawl space air in the winter.
-I assume sealing lights etc in the attic would be low hanging fruit. When I blow in insulation for my garage attic I could also add more in the main attic.
It’s an awesome house and I think thoughtfully designed but much of it just seems overly complicated compared to just making everything tight and well insulated.
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