Passive Solar Shop
Use seasonal sun angles to lower your heating and air-conditioning costs
After 25 years in a cramped, one-car garage workspace, the time finally arrived to construct a shop with some real elbow room. In addition to all the usual design considerations—work flow, machine locations, electrical-outlet placement, dust collection, and the like—I wanted to incorporate passive solar heating. Using energy from the sun to heat the shop offers two advantages. First, heating costs go down, no small advantage at a time when energy prices have soared. And second, it reduces—even if in a small way—our national dependence on oil.
Window size and placement are important When designing a shop to take advantage of the sun’s energy, the size of the windows is an important part of the story. In winter, you want windows to let in lots of warming sunshine. In summer, you want those same windows in the shade. Before you can size and position the windows, you…