Solar Solutions to Architecture and Urban Planning

Using architecture and design to improve efficiency of your solar power

Sunlight has been an influencing factor in architecture since the beginning of architectural history. Greeks and Chinese oriented their homes to face the south to provide warmth and light.

Some features of passive solar architecture are Sun orientation, selective shading and thermal mass. When you tailor these features to work together in your home, and with the climate and environment, they can produce warmth and comfort in a well-lit environment.

The most recent technologies tie together solar lighting, ventilation and heating, using computers to model the design into a solar design package. You can also add active solar equipment such as pumps, switchable windows and fans to complement the system and improve it's efficiency.

Urban heat islands (UHI's) are metropolitan areas where there is a lot of asphalt and concrete that have higher heat capacities than the natural landscape. These materials actually raise the temperature of the city. A method of solving this dilemma is to paint roads and buildings white and plant trees. A hypothetical "cool community" project in Los Angeles, California, would cool the community by 3 degrees C. This hypothetical improvement would cost $1 Billion but would save $530 million per year in benefits of lower air conditioning costs and healthcare.



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