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Passive Solar Design for New Zealand Homes

Passive Solar Home in Kerikeri, designed by Solarei (details below).

Passive solar construction is an attractive design philosophy; not only does it save energy it reduces dampness and condensation, improves sound insulation, increases the durability of building materials and makes the home healthier. Passive solar construction uses the sun to warm the house, heat is absorbed into the building and slowly released back into the house as it cools. Solar heating can be the source of warmth or it can be supplemented by other sources. Consequently, passive solar design has the potential to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Homes consume nearly 35% of the total electricity generated in New Zealand, and unfortunately the majority of New Zealand homes do not use this energy efficiently. Space and water heating are the predominant uses of energy in a home, and energy savings in these areas are easily achieved (see EECA for further information).

Hot summers and cold winters are a challenging combination for solar buildings, and attention needs to be paid to both summer and winter conditions. Chilly homes can be warmed in winter with correct window design to contain as much solar heat as possible.

A home can be kept cool in summer without the need for air-conditioning by correct placement of shading, ventilation and insulation (although flexibility needs to be built into systems to allow for unusual weather conditions such as hot winters/cool summers). These basic principles can produce year-round comfort in your home for little cost and can be applied to existing houses as well as renovations. The initial extra cost (if any) is paid back over time in savings on energy costs.

To view the Kerikeri Passive Solar Home click here>

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