The Solar Heated House
We wanted to build a more energy efficient house to conserve energy, reduce pollution and spend less money on utility bills. Bruce, from Adirondack Alternate Energy, designed the house from our floor plan. The solar heating system is very simple. As air is warmed by the sun in the house, it rises to the top of the vaulted ceilings. An air handler in the basement pulls the warm air down through an airshaft and distributes the warm air through ducts in the concrete slab. As the slab is warmed it stores a tremendous amount of energy. The air ducts then go from the concrete slab to every room in the house. Because the air handler runs all the time the temperature in the house is very constant. Even the basement is the same temperature as the rest of the house. When the sun doesn't shine and we have used up the heat stored in the concrete slab we have electric backup heat.
There is 4" of rigid insulation on all sides of the house - both above and below grade and under the concrete slab in the basement. Between the insulation, sheet rock and other materials the R value is around R-35. This results in a very comfortable house. Every house should be built this way. It cost a few thousand more for these energy saving features but you get your money back many times over through the years with reduced heating and cooling costs.