Would you recommend passive solar design for North Texas?


Would you recommend passive solar design for North Texas?

Asked by tungtruong


Randy Potter's picture

Passive solar design is simply a strategy that aims to provide maximum thermal comfort while utilizing the minimal amount of delivered energy.

  • Passive solar design can have benefits in any climate;
  • you just need to focus on what you are trying to achieve given the climatic demands.

Strategies for your subtropical climate

I am assuming the climate in North Texas is subtropical with hot summers and not a huge heating demand in the winter.

In a moderate climate like this, building orientation, shading, ventilation, building envelope integrity and insulation are far more important than thermal mass.

  • Think about blocking the sun with overhangs and shade trees and orienting the house so that it gets minimal solar penetration in the summer.
  • Then build a highly efficient and well-insulated envelope using OVE framing techniques and superinsulation like expanding foam. Ventilate using an ERV (energy recovery ventilator) for ventilation and humidity control.

For more information:

Read Greg Upwall's Q&A "We want to design a passive-solar home for a hot climate. Can we still have views to the east?"

Also, a great resource for passive solar design is the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website. It has a whole section on passive solar design.