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Helpful Books on Passive Solar Homes

January 25, 2011

Just wanted to let everyone know about a few books that I’ve found recently that are very helpful in understanding WHY to build your passive solar tire bale home a specific way; why to do your research before you design or build, and why to use an experienced architect or designer in these types of houses. I’ve been doing research for our book, which I cannot tell you when will be complete, only that I am working on it.

So here goes………all great references and all available through (I bought mine used and saved some money.)

The Solar House Passive Heating and Cooling by Daniel D. Chiras, 2002, Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, ISBN 1-913498-12-1 paperback. This book is helpful in understanding how to supply heat sustainably, energy efficient design, indoor air quality, types of wood stoves, windows(!) and their coverings, orientation and so much more.

The Passive Solar House The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home, by James Kachahadorian, 1997, 2006, also published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT, ISBN 1-93392037-03-7. This book has some of the most basic things to understand when undertaking a passive solar home. It also has some of the best formulas needed for this type of architecture. This has been one of my best resources!

Solar House Basics by Peter Van Dresser, Passive Solar House Basics,, 1977, 1979, 1995, Peter built his first solar home in the early 1950s. This is my 2nd best reference for passive solar homes. I love the illustrations and the brevity but all the very good information.

Passive Solar Buildings Solar Heat Technologies: Fundamentals and Applications, edited by J. Douglas Balcomb, 1992, MIT Press. (part of a 10-volume set). Balcomb is one of the key figures in many areas of passive solar heating and cooling technologies and on the formulas that many architects must know when designing these types of homes. He also works with the Passive Solar Industries Council. There is some information on performance modeling in this book that may also be found in materials from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).

As I reflect back on our building experience, I have found that if I had a checklist of very important data to keep in mind when designing our home and then building it, we would rate about 80% of doing what these authors have recommended for this type of architecture.
For instance, there is a sort of checklist outlined in a chapter in the last book called “Elements of a Passive Subsystem”. Check this out as you design or build your passive solar tire bale home. You will find that it will save you money in the long run.

Happy research and building!

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