When planning the construction of a new home, there are a few design attributes that could make a big difference in how much energy you use and how much you can produce. Here are a few;
- Make sure the home faces true south with a 6/12 to 10/12 pitched roof
- The solar roof plane should be free of plumbing vents, roof vents, dormers and skylights. The southern plane is the best but east and west are also very good.
- If the solar roof plane is at least 17’ from the peak to eave then this will allow three rows of solar panels instead of the average of two rows; increasing by 50% how much power can be produced. This will also extend the southern portion of the roof far enough past the wall to shade the southern side of the home in the summer but allowing the winter sun in in the winter will substantially decrease heating & cooling costs.
- Put a conduit in the attic that runs down to next to the electrical box. Since they are cheap at this stage you may want to consider a couple for future needs. You never know when you may want a satellite dish or other future technology. The solar will need a 1” to 1 ½” depending upon solar array size. If you are unsure install the 1 ½”.
- Bring a 40 amp 240v A/C circuit to the garage for an electric car charger. You may not need it now, but at this point it is cheap. Once drywall goes up so does the price.
- Position the air conditioning unit on the north side of the home. This will allow the home to shade the unit decreasing the cost to operate it by over 20%.
- The use of solar tubes decreases the need for artificial lighting. They look like normal light fixtures. Google ‘solar tubes’ to read more about them
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