The drawing above, or some version of it, has been part of every sustainable design class since about 1970: have lots of south facing windows carefully shaded by properly designed overhangs, with the winter sun heating up that thermal mass of the floor.Frank Lloyd Wright did it; I did it; everybody did it. But what if we were all wrong? Over at Green Building Advisor, Martin Holladay looks at what was almost a religious doctrine and questions its tenets, writing:
…certain aspects of the passive solar approach — an emphasis on careful solar orientation, a concern for proper roof overhangs on the south side of a house, and a preference for south-facing windows over north-facing windows — seem embedded in my DNA. Lately, however, I’ve begun to wonder whether there is any technical justification for these recommendations. Do these design principles result in energy savings? Or am I just dragging around the stubborn legacy of my hippie past?