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Community and Q&A

Too much southern exposure?

GBA Editor | Posted in PassivHaus on

We have been looking for a passive solar/contemporary type house without much luck. We are considering this house but I’m concerned there may be not enough overhangs.

House was custom designed in 1980

Original Owners lived there 22 years

The house is exactly positioned for southern expose

Much of the house has a very thoughtful design with the exception of overhangs on the south side
Current owners live there 9 years and are showing electric bills of average 200 month

The whole house is electric
Every window in the house has a very custom blanket type rollup shade which seem to be in good condition

We like the house but was looking for feedback and would be gratefully appreciated

Thank you
Bob Metelsky
[email protected]

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It's impossible to assess this house with the information you provided.

    We don't know your climate or your location.

    We don't know your local electric rates, so it's hard to know whether $200 a month is a lot or a little.

    We don't know what type of glazing the house has -- whether it is low SHGC or high SHGC.

    We don't know how much interior thermal mass the house has.

    And even if we knew all that -- it would still be hard to answer the question.

    There are more important issues, including:

    - How leaky is the house?

    - How much insulation does it have?

    You can always retrofit some small roofs to shade the lower windows if the house overheats. (These small roofs would be between the first floor windows and the second floor windows.)

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    You're right, of course. Although Robert didn't include his location in his original question, the Web page that Robert linked to indicates that the house is in Connecticut.

  3. wjrobinson | | #3

    Martin, did you click the real estate listing? Location is exact, pictures, typical home of its vintage. We could guess the windows, CT=expensive electric rates, etc.

    Bob, it's a buyers market. I would have a solar company evaluate adding panels. Then try to buy the place with the cost of the panels subtracted from what you want to pay. Then add the panels. Good luck.

    And yes what Martin suggest could be done in the future, but as to payback there is none. Best payback is to buy nothing and upgrade nothing. But what fun is that.

    Too much southern exposure. Southern it has been said elsewhere is not too bad summers as the sun is high and much of the warming rays reflect off the glass at the incidence. Western and a bit Eastern sides of your home have more direct sun that needs shading summers (which this home may have, via trees and reduced window sqftge). In winter the sun is less of a value West and East, So good southern exposure aids in the winter.

    Buy it and install PV, throw a party and let us know the date.

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