16 Dec 2022


Passive Home Remodeling: Overhangs and Shading

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Academic level: College

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This paper is about what I plan on doing as I remodel my old home. It was built in 1904 and therefore has original plaster and lathe walls with no insulation, an old hot water furnace, window AC units, old electric and plumbing as well as old leaky windows. The goal is to convert this home into a passive home, which will involve changing almost all aspects of the home such as wall thickness, materials used, windows and window placement, and utilization of solar power among others. These changes will result in the making of a home that will remain neutral all year long. Moreover, the goal to warm the home is literally the use of a hair dryer or a simple fan for a few moments to cool, and hence the operating cost will be reduced to almost zero for heat and AC. Additionally, the transformation will significantly reduce carbon footprint through passive technology. Passive home design refers to the specific way of constructing a house utilizing and applying the natural flow of air and heat. Moreover, the passive design utilizes passive heating and cooling through solar as a way of maintaining decent interior comfort. Through the application of passive designs, environmental conservation is realized as the technology reduces carbon emissions, as well as energy demand by 80 percent since the use of mechanical systems, does not apply (Mihai et al., 2017). In fact, the completed passive home does not utilize energy in the form of conventional means such as oil, electricity, or gas. Rather, the home produces all the needed energy for self-sufficiency through solar energy and geothermal energy. Therefore, constructing a passive home requires meticulous planning, to ensure its conformance with the standards of passive technology. Notably, five basic principles apply in the planning, namely; thermal mass, double or triple glazing, orientation, insulation as well as overhangs and shadings. Orientation will be the first principle of consideration in remodeling the home. All the facades of the home will be adjusted to conform to the alignment of passive technology. The longer side of the home will align towards the east direction since the longer aspects of the home will be expected to realize solar radiation to the maximum ( Hassoun & Dincer, 2014). Owing to this reason, the most regularly used areas such as the living room and kitchen will be located in this part of the home. Furthermore, the orientation will minimize excessive during summer and thus provide cooling conditions by minimizing the west and the east facades to the sunlight, especially during mornings and afternoons. Overhangs and shadings will form an important aspect of my passive home since they help in minimizing heat during summer. A major consideration will be the sizing of these structures to proportionately cover the home. On the southern facade, sized overhangs will be constructed since it is the main area through which the sun mostly penetrates the inside of the house. Moreover, the home will be suitably shaded to reinforce the overhangs in preventing overheating during the season of summer (Mihai et al., 2017). Nevertheless, a meticulous design of both shades and overhangs will be ensured to guarantee that the slope and sizes of these structures meet the requirements of letting the sun in during the winter As well as providing the needs of shading during summer. Due to the geometry of the building, simple overhangs will be used for shading the southern facade. However, other facades will have different specifications of overhangs to meet the requirements of every season. Through these overhangs, shading will be availed while allowing the passive solar heat needed for heating the building to ensure that a comfortable temperature is maintained throughout all seasons. Moreover, in controlling direct solar radiation, the number of east and west windows will be limited since they prove difficult to shade. Similarly, due consideration will be made regarding the landscape surrounding the home. For instance, the types of trees for shading may be considered due to their shading effects. On the other hand, devices for interior shading such as vertical louvers will be used as a measure of controlling the glare. The interior shading will require corresponding exterior shadings to reinforce the entrance of solar energy into the home. Insulation plays a primary role in reducing heat loss during winter as well as keeping the home with the needed coolness during summer. The home will require insulated materials since they poorly conduct heat as well as form a barrier between the exterior and the interior spaces in the building. The insulation will allow for a cool interior and hot exterior as well as a warm interior and cool exterior depending on the prevailing season ( Hassoun & Dincer, 2014). Notably, insulation plays a crucial role during warm climates as well as during cold climates, and thus, less amount of energy is needed for heating the home during winter and for cooling the home during summer. Since heat loss occurs through construction structures such as the floor, walls, ceiling, basement, and roof, insulation materials will be applied in those particular areas. Currently, the home has plaster and lathe walls with no insulation. Therefore, the materials for insulation will be carefully selected depending on their R-value. Materials with higher R-values have higher insulation capabilities ( Aynsley, 2014). The R-value s depends on the type of material, the density of the material as well as its thickness. Additionally, different factor comes into play in affecting insulation which is referred to as thermal bridging. Thermal bridging encompasses the undesirable heat flow that emanates inside the home via rafters, joints, and studs. With this in mind, the measure will be put in place to ensure the avoidance of thermal bridging. Therefore, the floor slab will be eliminated to ensure that heat gained from the sun is dissipated through the cavities in the material and diffused all over the openings in the home. As a result, temperature fluctuations will be considerably decreased ( Aynsley, 2014). A plethora of types of insulation material that could apply in a passive house exists and include; polyurethane, cotton, fiberglass, perlite, mineral wool, cellulose, and sheep's wool. Since my quest is geared toward the utilization of environmentally friendly materials, most of the materials apply for serving insulation purposes in my home. However, the different materials have different R-values that affect the extent of their insulation capabilities. For instance, cellulose has an R-value of 3.5 while cotton has an R-value of 13. The most superior insulation material as per the R-value is fiberglass as it has an R-value of up to 38 ( Athienitis & Santamouris, 2013). Therefore, my home will have fiberglass applied all through the walls as it has superior insulation capabilities. All thermal bridging will be catered for through the installation of fiberglass in all joints and rafters in the home. Currently, the home has old leaky windows that contribute to the massive energy consumption in the home. However, windows play a significant role in natural lighting in the home as well as providing natural ventilation. Therefore, the material of the window frames will be changed to include insulation material (Mihai et al., 2017). The positioning of the windows will be adjusted to relate favorably with the landscape, the movement of the sun as well as in relation to the wind direction. The adjustment will efficiently increase the efficiency of energy use and in return deliver the desired internal comfort. The primary function attributed to the windows in the passive home is the collection of warm solar energy when heat is needed, or vice versa to let fresh air in when is needed( Aynsley, 2014). Therefore, the windows will be situated on the southern wall of the home since that particular location allows them to maximize solar gain. On the other hand, the windows on the northern side of the home will be reduced and in so doing, effective insulation of the building against cold during the winter season will be realized. Further, adjustments will be made to the type of glazing on the windows since it is an indispensable feature in tackling insulation matters. Owing to this reason, recommendations from the Passive House standards require the use of double or even triple glazing to aid in decreasing the losses of heat through the home windows ( Hassoun & Dincer, 2014). Moreover, the window glazing will include the installation of glass of low emissivity. Furthermore, to ensure, window panes are of low emissivity, the glass will have the inclusion of a coating with a metal oxide which will be applied on the internal sides of the panes close to the joints between the window panes. This way, the glazing will allow the sunlight and heat inside the home while blocking the heat from escaping from the interior space at the same time, thus avoiding heat loss. For this home, double glazing will be applied where two layers of glass present with a gap of around 16 mm (argon gas filling) between them ( Aynsley, 2014). Concerning the type of frame, various materials can be used such as aluminum wood, or PVC plastic. However, the best choice for the frame material in my home will be wood, since it has excellent properties of insulation, is environmentally friendly, and requires less energy during the process of manufacture. Other than modifying the structural components of the home, thermal mass will be incorporated to ensure the absorption and release of energy when needed. This way, the home will have the capacity to store excess solar heat which will be used during the night or at times when the sun fails to shine such as during winter conditions. Thermal mass functions in the same way as a battery since it absorbs heat throughout the summer season thus maintaining the house in comfort ( Athienitis & Santamouris, 2013). On the contrary, during winter, the thermal mass releases the gained heat and gives it gradually during the night thus keeping the home in a state of warmth. Essentially a thermal mass has the capability to work in two ways. The first way is through direct solar gain while the second way is through indirect solar gain. In each of these ways, thermal mass moderates the temperature of interior spaces which reduces the need for mechanical cooling and the requirements of winter heating. Therefore, thermal mass provides the most cost-effective technique, and hence the home will take advantage of thermal mass in the home structure. Reflective coating entails the use of paint properties to reduce the demands for cooling the home during summer. Notably, reflective paint contains glass particles that reflect the rays of the sun. Therefore, by cutting most of the sun rays from getting inside the building, it will be possible to realize a reduction of the demands of cooling the home as well as the electricity bills. On the other hand, some types of heat-reflective paints can be utilized to function as natural insulators. For this home, heat-reflective paint will be applied on the exterior walls as well as on the roof. This way it will be possible to re-radiate up to 90 percent of infrared rays and 85 percent of ultraviolet rays thus reversing them into the atmosphere ( Aynsley, 2014). This method effectively halts the process of heat transfer through the exterior walls of the home or the roof of the home. Therefore, by working as an insulator, the reflective coating paint will effectively function in decreasing the high temperature that occurs during the summer season. Renewable energy systems form a fundamental aspect of a passive home. There will be the incorporation of renewable energy systems into the home as a way of achieving the goal of energy conservation. Integration of a renewable system into the home will take approaches such as Solar Collectors and PVs as they present numerous advantages ( Athienitis & Santamouris, 2013). Among these benefits include the generation of energy and thus saving the costs of energy. Additionally, it brings a significant reduction in the amount of carbon released through the combustion of non-renewable sources of energy. The installation of solar power structures will provide a public expression of sustainable commitment thus being a role model in the quest for environmental conservation. Moreover, the integrated systems for renewable energy have the benefit of offsetting the initial cost. In fact, some of the systems, particularly PV and at times Solar Panels, are applied in the construction of part of the building due to the various forms in which they are manufactured. For instance, a thin film solar cell can be incorporated into a malleable polymer plating membrane that suitably applies to flat roofs ( Hassoun & Dincer, 2014). Similarly, modules roof tiles, solar shingles, and panels normally apply effectively in pitched roofs. The even more appealing fact about this system is that it can save 50-70% of the energy of a traditional unit (Mihai et al., 2017). The roof forms the building envelope and can be tremendously flexible in design. Notably, there are two main categories of roofs, namely; the hot roof and the cold roof. The cold roof is considered so since the roof space of the home is unbolted along the soffits to permit aeration into the loft. This category of roofing system has controlled old-fashioned houses since it permits air circulation beneath the roof which characteristically grows superheated and causes the letdown of other construction materials. On the other hand, the hot roof is considered so since it wants in the very air circulation present in the cold roof. This category of the roof is totally sealed and permits no airflow. Most roofs of conventional roofs account for 10 percent of heat losses (Mihai et al., 2017). However, passive roofs reduce heat loss considerably to less than 2 percent of the total heat loss in the home. Plumbing systems have particular designs and are organized to be as free from hassle, and as proficient as possible. Conventionally, both mixed heat and hot water designs may be applied. Nevertheless, due to the fact that such systems are not efficient, the home will not apply such systems. Instead, the system will be compatible with the current green technologies like solar thermal hot water, and solar electricity ( Aynsley, 2014). The old leaking plumbing system will be eliminated and replaced with the current plumbing system that works compatible with solar technologies. For the needs of a passive home, traditional designs of hot water systems will not be applied. Notably, the traditional hot water system is one of the most energy-consuming mechanical systems in the home. For most traditional hot water designs, the processes encompass constraining hot water over floors (radiant), heaters (steam), or heat exchangers (air/duct/vented). This technique necessitates heating and reheating water before forcing and ensuring its flow all over the home. In different cases, a hot water unit delivers the hot water needs in a home since there is no need for a stable source of heat ( Athienitis & Santamouris, 2013). In nearly all cases of domestic hot water heating and storage, a huge capacity of water is preheated to be used immediately. It is later reheated endlessly and put in storage in a lightly insulated container. The method involves huge input of thermal energy and thus has high energy demands. Therefore, using solar technology with a compatible plumbing system will eliminate the use of conventional means of heating water to ensure the conservation of energy. As discussed above, passive home techniques significantly reduce energy costs and conserve the environment. Therefore, significant environmental changes can be realized if all homes and buildings, high rises were built with these methods. For instance, passive cooling is recognized as the least costly method of cooling buildings in both environmental and financial terms. On the other hand, utilizing passive heating of buildings through techniques discussed above would ensure less consumption of energy for heating buildings during the winter season. In conclusion, passive modeling of homes provides practical means of transforming houses into environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Other than relying on conventional means of heating and cooling buildings, passive solutions offer more durable and natural ways of maintaining comfortable temperatures in the home. 


Athienitis, A. K., & Santamouris, M. (2013). Thermal analysis and design of passive solar buildings. Routledge. 

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Aynsley, R. (2014). Natural ventilation in passive design. Environment Design Guide, (80), 1. 

Hassoun, A., & Dincer, I. (2014). Development of power system designs for a net zero energy house. Energy and Buildings, 73, 120-129. 

Mihai, M., Tanasiev, V., Dinca, C., Badea, A., & Vidu, R. (2017). Passive House Analysis in Terms of Energy Performance. Energy and Buildings

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