Question

Can you recommend cost-effective auxiliary HVAC solutions for a passive solar home?

We are designing a passive solar home in the Omaha, NE area. We simply don't get enough sunlight to provide for all of our heating needs this way. We also need a cooling option for the hot summers here. Can anyone recommend cost-effective backup heating and cooling options? We've looked at mini-split ductless units, high-velocity mini-duct forced air systems, and hydronic radiant floor heating.

Answer

Our architectural studio recommends comparing your passive solar home to the passive house technology. The Passive House Institute U.S. provides a great description of the concept and how it works.

The homepage of the U.S. Department of Energy gives a great definition of passive solar home design and has very helpful information to compare the auxiliary heating and cooling systems. We recommend hydronic radiant floor heating and geothermal heat pumps for both heating and cooling because of their high efficiency. Remember that systems based on water (liquids) transport energy far more efficiently than air systems.

Great products such as solar hot water systems for space heating, radiant floor heating and much more are provided by Stiebel Eltron.

Tagged In: passive solar, heating cooling, passive house

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