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Positioning a house (regarding window view wall)

Patrick Scott | Posted in Interior Design on

We are looking to build in the Ashville, NC area, 2,100 – 2,200 feet above sea level. Mild winters. The view of this lot is to the south.

Does passive solar make sense in the southern US? Can we have our high window wall face south? We will be looking into the winter sun. We can build the roof overhangs longer from the house to assist.

Looking for opinions, articles or publications that address this. Gets confusing googling everything. Also natural gas is available; could go geothermal but very expensive. What is the next best way to go? Heat pump combined with gas heat?

Thanks greatly.

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Patrick,
    I know just the article you need to read. It was written by Brian Knight, who lives in Asheville, N.C.

    Here is the link: Cost-Effective Passive Solar Design.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Patrick,
    To answer your questions directly:

    Q. "Does passive solar make sense in the southern US?"

    A. It certainly does in Asheville, N.C.

    Q. "Can we have our high window wall face south?"

    A. Yes, but you still need to make sure that you don't have too much south-facing glazing. It's always possible to overdo it.

    Q. "Natural gas is available; could go geothermal but very expensive. What is the next best way to go? Heat pump combined with gas heat?"

    A. It's hard to beat the cost of natural gas these days if you are looking for an inexpensive way to heat your house. I don't recommend the use of a ground-source heat pump (also known as a "geothermal" system), because the equipment costs too much to make any sense. If you plan to install air conditioning, you may find that it makes sense to install two or three ductless minisplit heat pumps -- enough to provide all of the space heating and cooling for a well-insulated house of the size you are considering.

  3. Reanna Alder | | #3

    FWIW: One of the most important things I've figured out about passive solar, that I haven't seen talked about a lot, is that glass doors make your overhang needs ginormous, because they are so far, vertically, from the awning. Windows with average-height sills, or clerestory windows right under the roof, are much easier to shade with normal overhang depths.

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