Consider Making Dormers Solar-Friendly When You Renovate
For expanding young families in these frugal times; simply putting up a new dormer on the too-small house that you already have can really “pencil out” – instead of moving to a bigger house – and to the bigger mortgage that goes along with that.
Many roofs in older homes have attics under steep gables that waste potential space for a growing family. Opening them up is a great idea.
However, steep roofs also don’t align correctly for the best sun access.
So, when you convert these attic spaces to add more room for a growing family, think about more than the space that you need under the new dormer roof. Think about the space you create on top of it too.
This Minneapolis family was looking to add room for their new addition, and came up with this shed dormer addition. This particular house – under its shady canopy of trees, was not a contender for a solar dormer. But the dormer shed roof that John Anderson of JDA Design Architects in Minnetonka created is an example of the perfect shape for a solar dormer.
If you have solar access and plan to extend your attic; think about the new space you create on top as well as underneath. Ideally, a dormer roof for solar is a simple shed dormer as close to the full length of the house as possible. Consult a solar estimator in your area for the ideal angle for your latitude.
Supplying your own electricity with solar is increasingly cost-effective now that panel prices are lower, many states offer great incentives and now companies even make it possible to switch to buying solar electricity from a power plant they put on your roof for $0 down.
When you add in the huge savings over time for solar, it makes sense to actually build a new solar-friendly roof shape when you build any attic renovation.
Of course, adding spaces to your home increases its value. But it becomes an even bigger win-win if you then add solar to your new dormer. Solar adds $20,000 in value for every $1,000 saved on electricity per year.