In last week’s YouTube Episode about the Energy Retrofit of the old cottage next to the Greeny Flat we were making our way around to the North wall of the house where replacing the windows and installing the new cladding is getting a bit more complicated. For one thing, in this part of the building we are not simply replacing the old, single-glazed windows with double-glazed ones of the same size. We are actually changing the size of the windows and adding a couple of new ones in order to try to get more glazing on the north wall of the house. What we are really trying to do is to take maximum advantage of the Passive Solar Design potential of the existing building.
Passive Solar Design is the key to creating a home that stays warm in winter and cool in summer with minimal additional heating or cooling. So in this week’s Episode we take a step back and talk about how Passive Solar Design works, how it can be applied to an existing building and some of the challenges we face when we’re working with existing conditions and council regulations that are less than perfect for optimum Passive Solar.
I’m excited about the next phase of this retrofit project because, as I mention in the video above, we’re getting into some uncharted and innovative territory. I’ve been reading about Trombe Walls for decades but I’ve never actually built one (below is another YouTube video that explains in more detail what a Trombe Wall is) and the concept of using the entire north wall as a solar air heater is a fairly new idea that we’re trying to figure out as we go along. Long time readers will know that I’ve done some experiments with a solar air heating panel attached to the Greeny Flat (you can read about this in previous Newsletters here and here). This has proven to be highly successful so we’re planning to make this a permanent fixture on the Greeny Flat as well as applying the lessons we’ve learned to make a bigger version out of the entire north wall of the cottage. Stay tuned to our Home Energy Retrofit Videos to see how this turns out.
Are We Really Saving the Planet?
Meanwhile, here is an excellent article forwarded to me by my Uncle Simon in Melbourne. This is a sobering reminder that what we like to call ‘Sustainable’ and ‘Renewable’ usually are not truly sustainable or renewable and actually may be doing more harm than good to the planet we claim to be trying to save.