Every year our energy consumption increases, which puts a larger load on the companies that provide us this energy. Most of this energy is actually lost in unused lighting that stays on in empty rooms, and phantom loads such as toasters, microwaves, televisions, etc. These days in the design industry we are returning to an “old” tradition called passive solar architecture. This method of design dates back thousands of years and was abandoned at some point when energy was cheap and HVAC technology was evolving. We started to design for our wants and not our needs, but for a long time no one seemed to have any problem with it. Passive solar design includes techniques such as natural daylighting, taking advantage of the wind for ventilation, and using thermal mass to store and release heat in a room.
The reason I am writing about this today is because it is one of the few days in San Luis Obispo where it is 90 degrees, however for us at ConciousBuild we are getting by just fine without any air conditioning and lighting. For as long as I can remember we have never used any artificial lighting throughout the day, and for ventilation we simply open up all of our windows. We also try to implement these techniques in our projects. For example, we are currently designing a private residence in San Luis Obispo and are installing polished concrete floors throughout the home. As heat from the south facing windows penetrates into the space, the energy is stored in the thermal mass of the floor during the day, and is slowly dispersed at night.
After reading this I hope you will try using natural daylighting rather than artificial, and if it gets hot try opening your windows and throwing on that tank top you never wear. I promise you will feel better and might even save a few bucks…or your money back! Enjoy this quote from Gandhi below.
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”
~Mohandas K. Gandhi
+ M. Farid Shahid
Image Courtesy Of: www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/
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