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CE Course: Practical Passive Solar Design
Tue November 7 @ 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Practical Passive Solar Design in North Carolina: Green Built Alliance Fall 2023 Workshops
This course goes over the main design principles, with examples, of passive solar design as it applies to homes in North Carolina climate zones. Passive solar is a set of ancient design principles, and a long-celebrated aspect of green building; however, many passive solar design techniques were developed in previous decades when building insulation and airtightness measures were not as advanced, and in climate zones that were colder or had bigger day/night temperature swings when compared to a NC climate. This class gives an overview of the best practices for passive solar design in new, energy efficient homes in North Carolina climates in particular.
Participants will understand how design choices about the orientation, shading, lay out, window sizes and locations, use of thermal mass, and use of high performance building envelope principles in a new home construction project can contribute to energy savings, homeowner satisfaction, and even earn rebates and incentives in North Carolina. The purpose is to educate and inspire builders to understand and consider the use of some or all of these design principles in order to build homes that require less heating and cooling energy and are more comfortable.
Participants will leave the class with an understanding of the following:
- How a home’s orientation, shading, lay out, window areas and orientation of windows, use of thermal mass, and use of insulation and air-tightness technique during construction can contribute to energy savings and comfort in new homes, passively.
- How these principles play out in two different levels of passive design: sun tempered design and full passive solar.
- How to design overhangs or awnings that shade south facing windows in summer but leave them open to solar heat gain in winter.
- Specific guidelines for window glass area by orientation as a percentage of floor area that create the most effective passive reduction of heating costs in a North Carolina climate without unintentionally raising cooling costs.
- Specific guidelines for how much and what type of thermal mass should be used to offset higher amounts of south facing glass in full passive solar designs. See examples of how other homes have incorporated thermal mass.
- Common misperceptions about passive solar homes.
- How passive solar design strategies fit into the current landscape of North Carolina’s energy code, available green building programs, and rebate programs for energy efficiency.
This course has been approved as a two-hour elective course eligible for continuing-education credit through the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The hours additionally apply toward Green Built Alliance’s Regenerative Professional Accreditation. The class may also meet continuing-education criteria for other organizations; please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions related to qualifying for continuing education.
Leigha Dickens is a building scientist and RESNET HERS Rater. For more than a decade, she has been managing the green building and sustainability department at Deltec Homes, a member of Green Built Alliance that manufactures and builds high-performance homes. Leigha was previously the Green Building Program Manager at Green Built Alliance and now serves on the Board of Directors. Leigha applies her background in physics and environmental science to building science, green building design, and renewable energy. She has experience in residential construction management with a focus on achieving high performance in residential energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.