we are in the design stage of a new home and I am trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of the low winter sun and keep the high summer sun out. Is there a website out there that helps explain how to figure out how much overhang a roof needs to have ect.?
there are programs that tell you the angle of the sun at different seasons for different locations. you'll likely have to do the geometry yourself, but it isn't terrible.
around here, it seems like using eaves for this purpose doesn't work real well. it's typically well into June before the sun gets intense enough to cause problems. so we use deciduous vines instead. they seem to fit the seasons better than relying on the angle of the sun. Missouri will likely be substantially different than southwest Washington, though.
Links I gathered from researching my last home build.
One thing to note is that you probably need moveable controls or shades to fine-tune the solar gain to adjust for unseasonably warm or cool temps. In MO, I would design my house primarily to be COOL and overbuild my controls. I learned the hard way to pay special attention to western exposures--I am now building covered patios and pergolas to reduce the afternoon heat gain.
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