Much of the energy consumed by buildings is used during construction including the embodied energy of the materials. Transportation is becoming an even larger piece of this equation. There is also the energy consumed during the life of the building. This can be greatly reduced if we make energy consumption important during the design of the building.
Strategies for designing an energy efficient building in a sunny cold climate.
A. Let the energy in (Solar exposure)
B. Store it (Mass/Batteries)
C. Keep it in (Insulation)
Passive Solar Design
A no-moving-parts-strategy where the form of the house is a solar collector in winter but not in summer.
Add insulation around some mass (stone, adobe the more natural the better) and in this climate the house will stay comfortable year round with little or no help from fossil fuels.
Active Solar systems
Collect the suns energy and distribute it in the building either with wires in the case of electric or plumbing for heating systems.
“Solar Thermal systems” are the most widely used and are very effective in a cold climate. A typical space heating system pumps a fluid through a solar panel and then into storage in a radiant high mass floor or a tank for domestic hot water.