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©2011 Designer Home Builders LLC
A proud builder of Energy Star qualified homes
Whenever a lot allows the orientation of the long side of the house to be facing
south, we recommend incorporating passive design principles into the design of
the home.  These principles enhance the effectiveness of the Energy Star
features and Green Building techniques that are standard in our custom homes.
Passive solar design is based on two simple facts:
  • In winter, the sun rises in the southeast, remains low in
    the southern horizon, and sets in the southwest.  Only
    the south wall receives full sun, and the direct sun rays
    warm the house.  The sun's energy is clean, healthy, and
  • In summer, the sun rises in the northeast, rises high
    overhead, and sets in the northwest.  The east wall,
    roof, and west wall receives full sun, but the  south
    facing windows are shaded with minimal overhangs, which
    allows light in and views out.
Benefits of passive solar heating include a more
enjoyable home as well as reduced utility bills.  Sunny
interiors make a home feel larger, and the ever
changing light patterns throughout the day and season
bring the interior spaces to life.

Utility savings result from reduced electrical lighting
needs, and a house with most of the windows facing
south will cut annual heating bills by at least 10-25%.  
Basic passive solar principles can easily be designed into most floor
plans and elevations.  Additional cost can range from none to about 10%
above a typical Energy Star home.  Following are important principles to
  • Careful attention to detail is critical during design and construction
    to provide a tight building envelope.  Designing and building to meet
    Energy Star certification is the best way to ensure you home is
    properly insulated and sealed, and has a properly designed heating
    and cooling system.
  • Select a site that allows the long wall of the home (and usually the
    back wall of the home for privacy) to face within 10 degrees of
    south (max. 30).
  • Choose or develop a design that has few projections and covered
    porches or decks on the south side.  Porches on the east and west
    sides provide beneficial shading of windows in the summer.
  • Orient the longest wall of your home to the south.  
  • Maximize windows on the south side, and minimize windows on the
    north, east, and west sides.  Note that covered porches can
    provide shade in the summer, which reduces cooling costs even with
    more windows.  
  • Design the overhangs to properly shade the south windows from
    the high summer sun.  For mid-Missouri, extending the overhang
    from 18" to 24" shades an eight to nine foot high wall.
  • Provide thermal mass, such as tile, brick, stone, or stained
    concrete on floors and walls inside the south facing rooms to
    absorb and release heat in winter, and provide cooling in summer.
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