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.
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.