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Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home Hardcover – September 15, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
"The knowledge imparted in this book has been accumulated from over 30 years of data gathered from several hundred solar homes located in the northern tier of the United States, from North Carolina to and including Canada and west to the mountain states. These are locations that are primarily focused on heating."
I live near the gulf coast, and was interested in learning about passive means to cool my home, in addition to heating. (As I write this just after midnight, at the end of November, my Air Conditioner is necessarily on!) This is probably a 4 to 5 star book for those living in the cooler regions of the country, and I do not intend to discourage those living in such areas from reading this book. And, if I move to a cooler region after retiring, I will probably pull this book out and review it.
I've been involved with building houses for several decades, and I've been thinking passive solar for quite some time too. In fact many of the ideas in this book are very similar to ideas I've developed independently.
I've seen everything on thousands of jobs from everyday homes to ultra gigantic mansions. One thing I've learned from the BEST builders is to avoid the experimental. Avoid extravagant shapes. Build simple buildings. Put your money into quality material and hardware... unless you want problems. And please keep the place neat. Nobody likes tripping over or cleaning up garbage the last guy left. Call your subs BEFORE you need them and ask them what drives them nuts, instead of finding out you made the same goof everyone makes, after you've spent a bunch of TIME and MONEY building it wrong.
I have to say the slab thing, and the ideas about the Sun's inclination etc are ingenious. They've changed my thinking considerably.
WHY THEN ONLY 3 STARS?
Well mainly some small, but galling, typos, and the lack of a website, or at least an obvious website. James needs to get feedback on these problems and the revisions need to be posted somewhere so they don't keep driving people nuts:
1) on page 76, Table 6-10 it says "see appendix 4." If you use appendix 4, like I did, it will totally confuse you and give you a headache. It SHOULD read appendix 5.Read more ›
Basically he designed a large mass of concrete that acts as a big heat sink. That is, when the house is warmer than the concrete, heat flows into the concrete, cooling the house. When the house is cooler. Heat flows out from the concrete, warming the house.
There are a lot of solar systems that work this way, the advantage of his is that it uses standard, i.e. cheap, concrete blocks and a poured slab. He further designs the layout of this concrete so that air would flow through passages in the concrete blocks without the necessity of having blowers to force the air through.
All in all, the book contains some very clever ideas, and has both simple explanations of how it works with enough theory and mathematics to enable you to design your own house. This is made easier through using the software contained on the CD supplied with the book. Here is a fairly complete, fairly simple design tool that will allow you to do a lot of the basic design work of your own solar home. This is not the style of your home, it is the design of the solar aspects.
Anyone thinking of a solar home would be foolish to not spend the few dollars this book costs to get and understand Mr. Kachadorian's concepts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting technically oriented book. However if buying the e-version the illustrations, floorplans, etc which are important to understanding the concepts, are too small to... Read morePublished 5 months ago by JB
Interesting but the author I think is not really updated or knowledgeable of other methods apart from his. He only talks about the specific solution he devised.Published 16 months ago by José Ignacio Castro
I have the earlier edition of this book. From the description it appears the main difference is the inclusion of software in the 2nd Edition, so I believe my comments are still... Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. D Johnson
I am so looking forward to designing a house using the patented (expired) floor layout to both heat and cool my soon to be built home. Read morePublished on January 6, 2013 by GoldenHVAC
Somewhat dated info, but useful and historically interesting. Apparently his floor system is no longer used. Read morePublished on September 26, 2011 by Robert Bissett
Well explained and illustrated. Software lacks finesse in user interface. System should apply most anywhere, but do require your calculations to provide full benefit. Read morePublished on August 31, 2011 by JimLudden
In these tumultuous times of higher oil and gas prices it is good to know there is an alternative way of heating a home. Read morePublished on February 27, 2011 by JJ Diamond
This is a very good book on this subject. However, the best book I have found is Daniel D. Chiras, "The Solar House". Read morePublished on September 11, 2010 by Bob Borst