Posted March 10, 2014 by Gabriel Posternak

How to Build a Solar Addition

A sunroom or solar addition can provide more living space, improve the efficiency of your home and of course, give you more heat. You may even want it to grow plants. You have many options when it comes to building solar panels or solar additions. But first, you have to know what your options are based on your home and where you live.

South Facing Wall -- To build a solar addition it's important to have a south facing wall in which you can build a lot of windows. This area cannot have large shade trees in the way. The more south facing area you can use the better. Shoot for 18 percent but if you live in a very cold climate you probably want to try for a larger percentage of south facing windows.

Install The Windows -- To add windows to a wall, you'll need a professional to ensure that it's okay for your home. A professional window installer or building will know exactly how to do it so that it works well for your needs. These windows should also be shaded by eves, awnings, or if the house has overhang already then you'll be fine. Otherwise your home may be too hot. It's also a good idea to add tile or other heat absorbing materials to the room so that it can stay warm into the night

Adding  a New Room  -- You can also, if you don't have enough south facing wall, add an entire solar addition, or extra room, to your home if you have the land space and can get a permit to add on to your home.  Of course, the new room must be build on the south side in order to have any type of solar gain. If done right it will not need additional heat, it can in fact heat some parts of the house for you.

Adding Solar Panels --  Using some form of thermal mass material will also help. Bricks, Tile, Concrete can all collect heat and then put of heat during the evening. You can also add actual solar panels to the south facing solar addition. You can also purchase polycrystalline cells and connect them to the house in long rows. The more you can afford to install the more energy you can collect.

You can do so much with a solar addition. It can be a place to grow plants, dry wood, and even let guests stay. It's not an uncomfortable place and the heat can be controlled. People have added solar additions to their house on the south side that are larger than the original house. The designs look beautiful and depending on your location the addition of building solar panels can make your home a zero net energy home.

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