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Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home [Hardcover]

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Item description for Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home by James Kachadorian...

For the past ten years The Passive Solar House has offered proven techniques for building homes that heat and cool themselves, using readily available materials and methods familiar to all building contractors and many do-it-yourself homeowners. True to this innovative, straightforward approach, the new edition of this best-selling guide includes CSOL passive solar design software, making it easier than ever to heat your home with the power of the sun. Since The Passive Solar House was first published, passive solar construction expert James Kachadorian has perfected user-friendly, PC-compatible software to supplement the design process explained in the book by allowing homeowners/designers to enter the specifications of their design and see how changing a variable will affect its energy efficiency. This is the building book for a world of climbing energy costs. Applicable to diverse regions, climates, budgets, and styles of architecture, Kachadorian's techniques translate the essentials of timeless solar design into practical wisdom for today's solar builders. Profiles of successful passive solar design, construction, and retrofit projects from readers of the first edition provide inspiration to first-time homebuilders and renovators alike.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 8.25" Height: 9.75"
Weight:   1.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 15, 2006
Publisher   Chelsea Green Publishing Company
ISBN  1933392037  
ISBN13  9781933392035  

Availability  0 units.

More About James Kachadorian

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

James Kachadorian currently resides in Woodstock.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Home Design > Design & Construction
2Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Home Design > Remodeling & Renovation > Energy Efficiency
3Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > How-to & Home Improvements > Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Building Types & Styles > General
5Books > Subjects > Science > Technology > Renewable Energy

Reviews - What do customers think about Passive Solar House: The Complete Guide to Heating and Cooling Your Home?

passive solar letdown  Aug 30, 2008
The author, in my layman's opinion, is too focused on the details. I think a lot of the laborious calulations could be greatly reduced into simple rules of thumb. However, I don't know where these rules of thumb are to be found, so to a certain extent, I have growned my way thru some of the calculations. One major concept I have rejected as not being worth the investment is the concrete block under the slab. However, the most influential concept has been the, in my case, estimate of thickness of the slab; rather than 4", I chose 6".
A must read for understanding passive solar  Nov 4, 2007
This book is a near soup-to-nuts presentation of James Kachadorian's patented passive solar design. The patent had expired when the author released this book. While his design may not be suitable all climates, the book covers the design with a pretty good look at the parameters and calculations behind it. The sizing and calculation process is outlined step by step, and this process appears to be readily adaptable to other passive solar designs. Like many books on passive solar, it tends to focus on passive solar heating and gives less attention to passive solar cooling. As such, the discussions of ventilation strategies aren't as rigorous as those concerning heat loading and thermal storage. All in all, I'd say this book is a must read for those really wanting to begin an education in passive solar design.
Fabulous and excellent EXCEPT for...  Jun 12, 2007
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.


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. The data on appendix 4 LOOKS like it MIGHT work which makes the problem worse. This one took me almost an hour to figure out.

2) The book has many pictures and come with even more on a CD, many useless, like a picture of a truck delivering stuff. I've seen trucks on roads before James. This is no help. However there is no CLEAR picture of HOW the slab is CONNECTED to the foundation walls. I'd like to see a close up. The diagrams are not clear enough on this issue. I don't have that much experience in this area and I'd like an answer. It seems to me that if the slab is in contact with the foundation wall there will be heat loss thought transmission from the slab to the foundation wall. Isn't that why the wall is insulated on the inside? If the slab does not contact the wall it seems to me that it's free floating which makes me nervous. In the diagram it looks like plywood ties the slab and wall together which make me think termites. Poured concrete slabs are usually tied together using rebar or similar. What is the secret?

3) on page 67 he goes though a series of equations to derive the elegant end equation I=Btus/hr·ºF. However you don't need the last equation to derive the information on the next pages. You need the NEXT to the last equation. It took me half and hour to get past that confusion. I kept looking for the LAST equation. Where oh where was it? The math is moderately difficult for us non engineer people but this typo made my head hurt. Ouch!

4) the diagram on page 46 appears to have a stud that makes a 45 degree turn and then another 45 degree turn??? I really don't think it does this, but I'll be durned if I can figure what they are trying to illustrate.

Anyway James, if you see this please put up a little tiny website with your email address please, so we can contact you about errors. A web appendix with corrected typos would be nice too. Websites are cheap and easy now days and you don't need much of a website really.

Otherwise great ideas.
Solar Home Design  Jan 10, 2007
I have been using this book as a text book for my class - Solar Home Design for the past several years because the thermal analysis worksheets are an excellent way for my students to learn the fundamental principles of energy & thermal performance of various building envelope systems. The worksheets allow my students to calculate any size or type of building and design for any location desired. Students conclude via the worksheets the Solar peformance ratios per month and annual solar performance , plus the needed supplemental heat required from a variety of heat sources.
This is an excellent book for teaching thermal performance and energy balances of residential buildings to adults interested in designing a comfortable Solar Home.
Subtitle Misleading - This Book is about Passive Solar Heating  Nov 29, 2006
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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