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It's 111°f outside today here in Southern france.  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: South West France
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So I took a few photos inside and outside of our house to record the changing temperatures, then made the shots into a short video to illustrate one of the cool advantages of having a bioclimatic house which I though might be interesting to share.

No fans, no air conditioning, no energy use - just common sense.

It's 14h and I'm outside, then under a lean-to, I enter the workshop, walk past the cellar (with the door open) then go into the main kitchen then out of the west door to a covered south-facing terrace, then outside under the shade of some trees then point the thermo on the ground in full sun.

 
Posts: 33
Location: Portugal
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nice! want to share some more about the house?
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
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Location: South West France
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Hi Nuno,

I've already posted a lot in the forum about the house but for those who don't know me or our place at Sourrou I'll just explain that for the first part of the build, I tried to follow all the classic guidelines for building an effective passive solar house. With a few small changes, it's working really well both summer and winter.

Here are some of the main elements :

The east/west axis of the house means that the sun orientation is used to the fullest for positioning solar water heating panels, photovoltaic panels and for benefiting from winter light and heat in the house.

Stones on some of the interior walls add thermal mass to be sun-warmed or heated by the wood stove. When we were building, it was interesting to see the light effect of the orientation of the house. We marked the walls with a trace at both solstices and the autumn and spring to determine the size of the overhang on the terrace roof which we built later.



Straw bales under the slab with "tiles" made by hand from clay from the pond in front of the house, cement and sand make a good thick heatsink for winter and stay cool in summer.



Spring equinox



Calculating the size of the overhang to maximise solar effectiveness



Big French windows on the south and sw side of the house to allow light to enter and small windows in the north to conserve heat.



Trees and climbing plants on the south facing terrace lose their leaves in winter and let the sun shine all the way into the house.





The small lean-to greenhouse acts as a cushion to the outside and helps heat the house in winter. In summer it's cooled by shady climbing plants and evaporating water.



The walls, floor and roof are super insulated and the outside on the south and west sides are surrounded by terraces and protected from the prevailing winds by several layers of hedges and trees.



The front door on the north wall is surrounded by plants and we leave the door open in the evenings when it's hot to get a nice cool breeze through the house.



When it is blazing hot outside, it's cool inside the house



The sun comes all the way in in the winter, warms the walls, the floor and the wooden furniture and the light is lovely. These photos were taken around the winter solstice.





I've probably missed out a lot of details but if you want to know more, just ask.





 
Posts: 68
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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What a beautiful (and efficient) home!
 
Nuno Donato
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Location: Portugal
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agreed, fantastic place! must be awesome to live in it
 
Posts: 35
Location: northern New Mexico
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Wow 111F 44C that's a scorcher for certain. Thanks for sharing the build information as well.  It hit 98F  36.6C here in the mountains of northern New Mexico at 7200feet  2195 meters during that global heat wave. 
I wish I had done half of the brilliant design plans y'all did there when I built this place. Electric bill was double high because of the window air conditioner we never thought we would need up here in the mountains. Sigh.
Beautiful place BTW
Brian
 
Posts: 12
Location: Missouri
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Irene, can you link to the other descriptions you've posted on this site?  I'd like to know more about your home design.
 
Posts: 25
Location: Eastern North Carolina, United States
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How lovely and wonderfully built (as I sit here in my 89F office)  LOL!  I wanted to jump into the video  
 
Posts: 1
Location: South of France: Cévennes
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What a great House, I'm located in the Cevennes, not so far avway, and yes! it is hot!!!
Would love the build such a House! One day, i let my dream become true!!!

thanks for sharing!

 
Posts: 7
Location: Wisconsin, Zone 4b
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What a beautiful home! I love the way you've combined the passive solar principles with pleasing aesthetics. That's some serious efficiency right there!
 
Posts: 5
Location: Switzerland / Portugal
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This is great and thank you for sharing! I live in Portugal where is is also very hot and I have a house I need to renovate. There are a lot of things I can't do cause the house is already there but I want to do as much passive solar as possible and I love seeing examples of how others did it. Your place looks lovely and it is obvious that your design was well made.
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I think you possibly have the most beautiful (and eco) house Ive ever seen.
This year in the Algarve where we live in the interior it reached 48 degrees, the highest on record.

On your one photo it was the lounge during winter solstice but it was dark, did you mean summer solstice?

Did you use the books by Brad lancaster, rainwater harvesting?
:)
 
Posts: 483
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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love the design
 
Posts: 59
Location: Western OK, avg rain 23" hazards: drought, tornado, wildfire
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homestead
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Beautiful house. Please elaborate on "super-insulated." thank you.
 
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