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Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home Hardcover – September 15, 2006


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Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home + The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling + Green from the Ground Up: Sustainable, Healthy, and Energy-Efficient Home Construction (Builder's Guide)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; Revised and expanded second edition edition (September 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392037
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392035
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Kachadorian is a civil engineer with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the founder of Green Mountain Homes, a company which gained national recognition as the first provider of innovative, manufactured solar homes. He has built more than 300 passive solar homes. Kachadorian resides in Woodstock, Vermont.

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Customer Reviews

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This is a very good book on this subject.
Robert Borst
If you are a seasoned handyman looking to build your own home or someone who is wanting to design a home to reduce their carbon footprint - you will buy this book.
JJ Diamond
This book is a near soup-to-nuts presentation of James Kachadorian's patented passive solar design.
R. McKown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By TJ in Houston on November 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A more accurate title / subtitle would be: The Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating Your Home. I say this because there is only a page and a half out of 224 pages given to cooling (that is pages 110-111). I realized that I may have purchased the wrong book when I read in the Preface the following:

"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.
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By D. Garcia on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First to address TJ in Houston's cooling problems. 1) movable awnings over windows and walls exposed to sunlight 2) slit windows at the bottom and top of the north side wall will allow heat to escape at the top which will pull cool air in at the bottom, especially at night and especially in a two story building. You might also explore cooling towers which essentially do the same thing.

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.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By B. Waggoner on September 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent resource for anybody who plans to build any kind of solar house. Several detailed (yet easy) design examples walk you through all the necessary heat gain and loss calculations which are necessary for all successful (i.e. comfortable and effective) solar structures. Many types of backup heating systems (including wood stoves) are discussed, including how they work together with the solar heating system. Lots of useful tables and other data in the appendices. This book focuses on a single "solar slab" design concept (which precludes the use of a basement), and only mentions other possible solar designs in passing. That said, it would be foolish to design a solar house without having this very affordable and excellent book in your reference library.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on November 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book on solar house design that I've seen where the author is a professional engineer who worked in the housing industry. He built houses of the conventional design when energy was cheap. When the price of energy started going up he began looking into solar heated homes and eventually got a patent on a passive system that is remarkably inexpensive when compared with other systems.

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.
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