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Suburbia-the opposite of passive solar-what can be done  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 474
Location: SF Bay Area
73
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My house right now is 73 degrees F. It's 63 outside, for summer this is a bad combination. Let me preface this discussion with, I live in the SF Bay area, the climate is/was very mild. I think the high today was 75F. In spite of all my efforts, window coverings, increased insulation, closing things up in the morning and opening in the evening. This house is a nightmare. Now, I'm moving in about 7 months, so I'm not looking to do all kinds of stuff, but it does make one think.

My house is older, about 1950's, and is better built than later tract homes. Why isn't there more talk about changing building codes to include passive solar design?  How is this not relevant to climate change? Why are so many still looking to technology to save them? It's part of what got us into this mess.

Frustrated and hot.
 
gardener
Posts: 455
Location: SoCal USA
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Living in a very overpriced 1200'sq home in southern California, where the high temp finally got below 90 this last weekend (the average for the last 30 days, day and night combined, was over 80 every day), and the house has no insulation and none can be added without lots of holes in the ceiling to blow in minimal insulation, I totally feel ya! Without a window AC unit in the house turned on at noon and kept running until 8-9pm, my dog would probably be dead by now. It's usually 10 degrees warmer inside than outside due to all the sun baking the vaulted ceilings.

I had several days where the bedroom was still too hot to sleep, so I pulled a mattress into the living room and slept there so the AC could keep my midwestern-raised blood from boiling off in my sleep. I wish I had found the house before the cheapo house flipper did, so I could have filled the walls and ceilings with blown in insulation before the drywall was put up. I would have also planted a couple fast growing fruit trees along the south wall to shade that surface a bit, and grow some food. Instead I have a nearly worthless shed there, but my 7 fruit trees in other spots are growing in their heavily mulched spaces now. I'm tempted to remove the shed and espalier something there, but with less than 5 years to retire and move I'm not going overboard.

Sadly a lot of options are removed with the packed in, cookie cutter neighborhoods where house orientation is based on maximizing housing units per block. There was a nice development where California state law will require new construction to include solar panels, which is a nice step forward.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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We lived in a small house in QLD with a fan only but it was really OK. No insulation but windows on every four sides and sash windows not the sliding ones. The house was on short 70 cm stilts the floor was leaky floorboard so it was pretty cold in what they call winter there. All entry door have safety screens so that you can leave the door open at night (with fly meshes). Wo what you can do: increase the air circulation! And there was o huge mango tree which made all the difference.
 
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