Home for Life Generates a Solar Surplus
The solar powered Home for Life, designed by Danish architecture firm AART A/S is well designed for not just net-zero energy consumption (producing its own energy), but to actually be a net energy generator, producing a surplus for the grid. Here’s what we can learn from it.
For states (like New Jersey) and countries (like Germany) that pay individuals for energy generated from a home, here is how to design a home to maximize solar energy production.
Get at least 530 square feet facing south on the roof. No little tricky hip roofs and cute gables going this way and that. Then put only one – to one and-a-half – stories under it. You want to ensure that you can produce more solar power on the roof than you use under it. Keep some space for a solar water heater – for hot water and radiant heating.
Maximize passive solar gain for winter. This house is a good example of passive design. A full 40% of the total floor area is replicated in huge, (mostly South-facing windows). Deep overhangs keep summer sun out, and allow low-in-the-sky winter sun in.
Use sensors to monitor when you leave a room and automatically turn off the lights.
Use sensors to monitor temperatures and automatically open clerestory windows at the rooftop to let out hot air (which rises, remember) when it is getting too hot, optimizing the flow of fresh air.