How cool does the house stay in the summer compared to outside temperatures?
In the summer for a 30-32 C day, the house would get to 25 C at the most. During hot spells in the summer, we open the windows at night to cool the house, and make sure to close all the windows in the day time. The super-insulated walls and well-sealed house keep the cool air in and hot air out during the day. At night-time, windows are opened again to cool house. We use this method when we know the high temps are over 30 degrees C. We also have good double-cell blinds on the south windows that we use in prolonged, consecutive days of hot weather. We just use the blinds during heat waves. Also we made sure eave measurements were correct using data from Natural Resources Canada for our particular geographical area to shade our south windows in the summer. We don’t need air conditioning, so we save a lot of money in the summer. We are also saving a lot of money in the winter, since our house does not require heating on sunny days.
Nate – We haven’t posted in the blog for a while, so this response is a little dated. I’m sure you have done lots of research on these types of houses, so this comment might be obvious – but the design of the house is critical for keeping the temperatures moderate throughout the entire year. In the past, especially in the 1970s, a lot of passive solar houses focussed only on the solar gain aspect – lots of south or even west windows. This flawed approach, without design features such as appropriate summer shading from calculated eve over–hangs (keeps the sun/heat out), super-insulation (keeps the heat out) and thermal mass (soaks up what heat or sun does enter the house and releases it when it is cooler, at night), makes those houses almost unlivable in the summer due to over-heating. You would be dependant on a/c. But there really isn’t any issue when the house is designed properly. And all of these features, when designed correctly, also work to your benefit in the winter. At this time of the year the sun comes in the house because it is lower in the sky (and the eaves no longer shade it out), the insulation keeps the heat in, and the thermal mass stores the sun’s heat and releases it at night when you need it.
I’ll be posting some ‘performance’ posts in the near future. Cheers.
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