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Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Other Energy

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Biomass

  • Biomass Energy Research Association
    BERA is an association of bioenergy researchers, companies, and advocates that promotes education and research on renewable biomass energy and waste-to-energy systems.

  • DOE - Biomass
    The U.S. Department of Energy funds research, development, and demonstration to help develop sustainable, cost-competitive biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower.

  • EPA - Student's Guide to Biomass Energy
    The biomass page of the EPA's guide to climate change.

Hydrogen Power

  • A Hydrogen Powered World
    The site is run by The Clean Energy Educational Trust to promote the concept of a hydrogen-powered world.

Hydropower

Renewable Energy

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Journals

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International Solar

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General Solar

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State Solar

  • Arizona - Arizona Corporation Commission
    The ACC regulates utilities, corporations and securities in the state. The Commissioners have the ultimate responsibility for final decisions on granting or denying utility rate adjustments, enforcing safety and public service requirements, and approving securities matters.

  • Arizona - Arizona Public Service's (APS) Green Choice Program
    APS' Green Choice Rates are an easy and affordable way to make use of renewable energy resources.

  • Arizona - Arizona Smart Power
    Arizona Smart Power specializes in helping residential consumers understand and compare the bids they are getting from photovoltaic or solar thermal dealers – and to understand the solar installation process.

  • Arizona - Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA)
    The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association is a non-profit trade association representing local, national and international solar companies in the Arizona market.

  • Arizona - Arizona Solar Racing Team
  • The official website for the University of Arizona solar racing team.
  • Arizona - Arizona State University (ASU) LightWorks Solar Initiative
    LightWorks pulls light-inspired research at ASU under one strategic framework. It is a multi-disciplinary effort to leverage ASU’s unique strengths, particularly in renewable energy fields including artificial photosynthesis, biofuels, and next-generation photovoltaics.

  • Arizona - Arizona State University (ASU) Sustainability - Energy Conservation
    Describes ASU's commitment to reducing its energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency on campus.

  • Arizona - Arizona State University (ASU) Polytechnic Campus, Alternative Energy Technologies Concentration
    Electronics Engineering Technology (Alternative Energy Technologies) degree program.

  • Arizona - Governor's Office of Energy Policy
    The GOEP provides a wide variety of information on energy programs, policy, projects, energy-saving strategies and energy-related statistics.

  • Arizona - Salt River Project's (SRP) EarthWise Program
    SRP EarthWise Energy is a voluntary program that SRP customers can join for as little as $3 per month, with 100% of dollars helping to build solar projects for non-profit organizations in the Valley.

  • Arizona - Tucson Electric Power's (TEP) Renewable Energy Programs
    TEP offers home and business incentive programs for renewable energy technologies.

  • California - California Energy Commission's "Energy Quest"
    Energy Quest is the award-winning energy education website of the California Energy Commission.

  • California - California Energy Commission
    The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency.

  • Colorado - Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
    RMI is dedicated to research, publication, consulting, and lecturing in the general field of sustainability. It's mission is to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources.

  • Florida - Florida Solar Energy Center
    The Florida Solar Energy Center is a research institute of the University of Central Florida.

  • Nevada - Nevada Solar Living
    Nevada Solar Living was created to provide information about solar power and other forms of renewable energy.

  • New Mexico - KTAO Taos, New Mexico Solar Radio
    KTAOS is a radio station at 101.9 FM powered by solar energy.

  • New Mexico - New Mexico Solar Energy Association
    The New Mexico Solar Energy Association is an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting solar energy and related sustainable practices.

  • North Carolina - North Carolina Solar Center
    The North Carolina Solar Center, at N.C. State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies.

  • Texas - SolarAustin
    Solar Austin is a non-profit organization working to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy, building healthy communities, strong economies, and energy independence.

  • Texas - Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES)
    The TXSES mission is to increase the awareness of the potential of solar energy and other renewable energy applications and to promote the wise use of sustainable and non-polluting resources.

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Federal Solar

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How a Battery is Recycled

98% OF A LEAD ACID BATTERY IS RECYCLABLE
The first step in simple, the bottom of the scrap battery is cut by a mechanical saw, allowing the sulphuric acid and any lead suspended in the acid to be drained off. The battery is then fed into a hammer mill for crushing.
Once crushed, the remaining components are floated off through a series of flotation ponds. The plastic pieces of the battery case, each by now no larger than a fifty cent coin are re-granulated into plastic which is used to manufacture the next generation of battery cases.
Next, the remaining two components of the scrap battery - lead and lead oxide - are fed into a rotary furnace along with lead dross, sludge, coke and other additives used to assist in the removal of impurities. This mixture is smelted for about seven hours at temperatures of approximately 500 degrees Celsius (that's over 900 degrees Fahrenheit).
The molten lead is poured off into a holding kettle and then transferred into refining pots where the final impurities and dross are removed. Lead with a purity of 99.97 per cent is capable of being made, however sometimes, antimony or calcium is added to the lead to make alloys. Various grades of lead alloy are made, depending on the manufacturing end use.
The refined lead is then used to manufacture new generation batteries.
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BATTERIES ARE VITAL

Lead acid batteries are crucial to life in the modern world. They are essential to transport and communication systems, electrical utilities and often provide life-saving backup during power failures.
Many times, we do not realize how important batteries are because, so often, they can not be seen. Batteries are typically out of sight and out of mind.
Telephones, for example, will work during electrical storms and power outages. This is because telecommunication systems are backed-up by battery power. Lead acid batteries maintain emergency power for computer systems and critical operations such as air traffic control, rail crossings, and hospitals. Civil Defense communications during natural disasters sometimes rely heavily on battery power.
Electric wheelchairs are powered by batteries, as are electric forklifts and industrial vehicles in warehouses, distribution centers, mines and other enclosed spaces where fumes from combustion engines would be hazardous. Without these powerful workhorses, life as we know it could be very difficult and different.
Lead acid batteries, while developed in the late 19th century, look likely to be a crucial power source well into the 21st century. Inventors are striving for economic battery-power alternatives to oil and gas fuels.
LEAD IS A VALUABLE RESOURCE.
The value of lead has been known for centuries. Lead products formed part of the Ancient world's wonders, from lead-glazed mosaic tiles, to stained glass windows and the hanging Gardens of Babylon.xray
Lead roofing and flashing has been used in Europe for years because of its low maintenance, resistance to corrosion, ease of installation and its beauty. St Paul's Cathedral in London was built with a lead roof in the 17th century and it has never required re-roofing. Lead is renowned for its resistance to moisture. Power companies sheathe underground electric cables with lead to protect against dampness.Lead alloys are used for X-ray and radiotherapy shields for cancer patients. It is essential in television screens and computer monitors because lead compounds can block radiation without affecting screen quality. Lead is used to provide top quality soundproofing in some of the world's best hotels. It is also used to protect against high altitude radiation in commercial aircraft.
Lead's future also looks promising. The first lead based computer chips have been developed to retain data when the power is switched off and lead shock dampers are now used for earthquake damage prevention.
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RECYCLING SUCCESS

More than 98 per cent of a lead acid batteries can be recycled, making them the most recycled of any consumer product. New generation lead acid batteries can be made from 100 per cent recycled lead and from up to 90 per cent recycled plastic.
When lead acid batteries are improperly disposed of, the acid inside them can leach into soil and waterways causing serious contamination. Recycling lead acid batteries safely means a lot less lead gets into the environment and therefore, health risks are much reduced.
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RESPONSIBILITY AND THE BATTERY MANUFACTURER

As responsible battery manufacturers, all U.S. Manufactures are committed to ensuring the majority of used lead-acid batteries are recycled.
These companies believe strongly in moving with the technological improvements. They are also committed to continuing to providing the "cradle to grave" management of all Lead Acid products.

(Original source of this article is unknown.)

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Solar Building Design in Arizona

Cliffs The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases in environmental concerns, coupled with diminishing resources and costly energy place even greater emphasis upon solar and renewable energies as an important part of Arizona's energy mix.

Solar utilization has a long history, beginning with some of the earliest structures in which humans lived. The early inhabitants of what we now call Arizona probably did not think of their homes as passively heated and cooled. They built them in response to the climate, to social and cultural standards and to their need for adequate shelter. They did not have available to them abundant energy resources or mechanical devices for moderating the indoor climate of their homes. So they used what was available - the sun, wind, caves, fire and available materials such as branches and sticks, and mud and stone. If necessary, they built several dwellings, including one for summer and one for winter.

Some of the earliest buildings in Arizona which took advantage of the sun were the cliff dwellings which, in many cases, faced south. While archeology shows that many cliff dwellings built during the same period and later, did not face south, those with the correct orientation provided a better level of potential comfort than those that did not orient to the south. Thus the low winter sun could enter and heat the people directly as well as heat the mud and stone walls of the apartments which remained warm in the cool nights, and during the summers, the cave roof shaded the dwelling from the direct rays of the sun keeping both people and structures cool.

Early desert dwellings included pit houses semi nestled into the earth with earthen berms which took advantage of the coolness and thermal stability of the earth; ramadas - outdoor, shaded work structures (cooking, etc.) which allowed breezes to blow through. Subsequently, multi-family dwellings called pueblos also incorporated ramadas. These two types of structures gave the inhabitants a choice between using the high mass adobe structure as a shelter from extreme heat and cold, or the low mass shelter (ramada) when it was comfortable outside. The ramada was also often used as an outdoor kitchen to keep the house from getting too smoky or warm.

Arizona's Environmental Diversity

All solar buildings are climate and site responsive. Arizona is a composite of differing patterns of elevation, temperature, solar radiation, humidity, wind conditions, vegetation, and terrain and even within the general climate zones of the state, there are local variations and factors to be taken into consideration. Arizona is defined into 4 general climate zones -

  • Sonoran Desert (Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, etc.) Zone 6
  • Basin and Range (Prescott, Payson, etc.) Zone 7
  • Colorado Plateau ( Winslow, etc.) Zone 9
  • High Mountain/Mogollon Rim (Flagstaff, etc..) Zone 3f

(See Arizona Solar & Weather Information and the State Climatology Office for specific and local data)

Arizona's environmental diversity leads to differing building design strategies and expressions, but also contain some shared design aspects. In areas of severe winter conditions (Flagstaff, Northern Arizona, etc. ) solar buildings can meet wintertime heating needs by capturing the sun's rays (and heat) in ways where warming can be immediate or stored for later use, while in the summer, cooling is easily provided by cross ventilation and shading. In areas of severe summer conditions (Phoenix, Yuma, Tucson, etc.) winter heating needs are easily met using the sun in a similar manner, and cooling can be achieved by proper site planning (orientation, landscaping, shading), materials selection and placement, space planning, building form, and use of the diurnal (day/night) cycle of heat flow coupled with passive and active solar equipment. Those temperate areas of Arizona, as well as those temperate times of the season in the areas of extreme temperature, can attain comfort by the use of fundamental solar planning, building materials, and ventilation.

Arizona has two rainy seasons, one in the winter and one in the summer. However, most days have some sunshine, and Arizona receives an average of 80-90% of the possible sunshine over a year's period.

Warm Zones

The desert zones are characterized by long, hot summers with high temperatures over I 00'F and lows in the 70's and 80's and diurnal (day/night) temperature swings of 30'. Winters are mild with highs in the 60's and 70's and lows in the 30's and 40's with occasional nighttime drops to freezing and below. Average January temperatures are 51.2 ' F in Phoenix, 55.4' F in Yuma and 50.9' F in Tucson. July high temperatures for the purposes of cooling system design are 107 'F in Phoenix, 109 'F in Yuma and 102 ' F in Tucson. Most of the year the air is very dry in the desert zones except during the height of the summer rainy season, when high humidity can cause much discomfort, particularly in the Phoenix and Yuma areas.

Passive (non-mechanical) heating potential in the desert zones is great and can easily provide 80-100% of the heating load. Passive cooling potential is greatest during the dry summer periods, but usually must be augmented with mechanical cooling during the most humid times. Heating and cooling designs must be considered in conjunction with one another.

Cool Zones

While more cooling than heating is needed in the desert zones, heating is the primary need in the basin and range and the high mountain zones. Summer nighttime temperatures drop low enough in these zones to allow adequate passive cooling if prevention of unwanted heat gains in the summer is incorporated. Summer high temperatures in the basin and range zone are in the mid 90's and the lows are in the high 50's and low 60's. The January average temperature is 37.1 ' F in Prescott and 32.6 ' F in Winslow. Summer high temperatures in Flagstaff normally reach the mid 80's but can get higher while summer lows are in the low 50's. The January average temperature for Flagstaff is 28 ' F.

Because of the high solar input, passive heating can provide 70 to 100% of the heating needs in the cooler Arizona climates. If passive heating and cooling are combined with proper means of controlling heat gains provided, little or no backup cooling is necessary.

Modern Solar Homes

Historically there are many examples of solar uses, strategies, and techniques In Arizona, but solar houses, as we think of them today, were not built until the 1940's. One of the earliest Arizona solar home designers was architect Arthur T. Brown who was instrumental in the design of an earth integrated passive solar home in Florence, Arizona in 1940, and other solar homes in the southern part of the state. One of his best known solar homes in Tucson incorporates a mass wall behind glass which stored solar heat in winter, keeping the house warm late into the evening. Brown provided for summer cooling with deep overhangs to keep the sun out; low vents on the north side and high vents near the south side ceiling for cross-ventilation; and the incorporation of evaporative cooling.

Definitions and Concepts

First and foremost, there is a great difference between an energy efficient building and a solar building. Solar buildings purposefully utilize the building's attributes of orientation, form, materials, and equipment to use the sun and other natural elements (earth, wind, water) to interact with solar and environmental conditions and resources to provide a unified, comprehensive approach to heating, cooling, lighting, water heating, cooking, etc.. A solar building, by definition, incorporates and builds upon energy efficient attributes, in its aggressive use and/or mitigation of environmental resources and conditions. An energy efficient building, while highly insulating and even efficient in its' energy consumption may not utilize the environmental resources that are available to provide for human comfort.

Solar building design approaches range from Passive Solar Buildings, (the building, form shape and materials are used to meet human comfort needs with little or no other power resources required) to Active Systems (mechanical devices powered by conventional and alternative energy sources are used to help collect, store, and distribute solar and renewable energy energy resource benefits and/or electricity to meet needs) to Hybrid Systems (a composite of the two).

Passive solar homes are those that use natural means -the sun - along with the heat transfer mechanisms of convection, conduction, radiation and evaporation to provide comfort. A passive building is designed to stay comfortable both winter and summer with little or no need for additional energy. Systems that depend on fans and pumps for their operation are called active. If a small amount of energy is used to run a fan and distribute heat (or coolness) throughout the house, the system is called hybrid. All require careful siting, spatial planning, and correct orientation to optimize effectiveness.

Solar design always considers the location of the building and the location of the sun. Since there are some basic rules of physics, and the sun's impacts change as it moves across the sky and is at differing angles to the earth's surface during the seasons, there are some fundamental rules of thumb for solar building design.

Sun Location

solar arc The sun is our greatest ally in solar design. As the seasons of the year change, the sun's location in the sky changes. In the winter, the sun is very low in the sky. It rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest. In the summer, it is very high in the sky, rising in the northeast and setting in the northwest. These differences in solar location throughout the year are one of the keys to solar design. It means we can take advantage of the winter sun to heat our homes while we can keep the summer sun out.

WINTER ORIENTATION - Optimum orientation to the sun in the wintertime will accommodate heating, in both the severe winter conditions of the high mountains and milder conditions of the low desert. Since the sun is generally always to the south of us (high in the horizon during the summer and low in the winter) maximum exposure is to the south for purposes of passive solar heating of a building and orientation of solar equipment (water heaters, photovoltaic modules, cookers, etc.). The "natural" form of the building to allow for direct solar access, would be elongated in the east/west direction. (DIAGRAM)

SUMMER ORIENTATION - Optimum orientation of a building in the summer tends to be the same - with minimization of east and west facades (due to intense early morning and afternoon low horizon sun impacts) and a major south facing facade with strong overhangs in response to the high angle of the sun during the main part of the day.

COOL COURTS/WARM COURTS - There are cold (north) and a warm (south) spaces adjacent to a building, and the use of cool courts and warm courts does much to mitigate negative climatic impacts upon a building as well as enhances the outdoor lifestyle that defines Arizona.

THERMAL TRANSITIONS - In areas of temperature extremes ( severe cold or severe heat), thermal decompression should be considered. As one moves from the outdoor temperature (-32 degrees or + 100 degrees), a series of transitions should occur moving a person from hot to warm to cool to comfortable (or conversely from cold to cool to temperate to warm). In hot climes this movement is from the direct sunlight (hot) to filtered shade (trees and vegetation) to a cooler zone of more dense vegetation, shade and fountains, to exterior structural elements (porches, verandas, etc.), to an "air lock" entry, to the heart of the building. This decompression pattern is also practiced, with differing natural and built elements, in cold weather design.

The advantage of this thermal decompression is two fold.

1) it allows for tempering the environment that surrounds the building, reducing the extreme temperature range between the exterior and interior of the building , therefore there is less demand to heat (or cool) a building at any given time, and

2) it allows for the human physiology to acclimate to temperature change in moving from 100 degrees to 74 degrees (or 20 degrees to 74 degrees). The negative problems caused by sudden thermal impacts upon the human body are well known, and mitigation of this condition is a beneficial by-product of good solar building design.

SOLAR BUILDING MATERIAL APPROACHES

HEAT FLOW - Heat always flows to cold, and the rate of flow is directly affected by the temperature difference - i.e. the greater the temperature difference the faster the heat flow and the type and density of a material.

Heat Transfer

In order to understand how solar design works, it is important to understand the basic physical mechanisms which make solar design possible. They are convection, conduction, radiation and evaporation.

Convection occurs when air or a liquid carries heat from warm surfaces to cool ones. When air or the liquid is heated, it expands, becomes lighter and rises. When it contacts cooler surfaces, it transfers its heat to those surfaces. The air or liquid then cools, becomes more dense and sinks. Thus a circular convective current is set up which moves heated air or liquid from warm objects or surfaces to cooler ones. This principle can be used to heat and/or cool.

Conduction describes the passage of heat through a materials such as the walls of a house. Depending on the material composition, the denser the object or material, the more quickly the heat will usually move through it, although a very dense, thick wall can inhibit rapid transfer of heat. Insulation, by its light density and trapping of air, resists heat transfer and thus reduces the amount of heat flowing through walls and roof areas.

Radiation describes the transfer of heat across space without warming the air in between. Sunlight is short wave radiation while heat is long wave radiation. Change in the type of radiation occurs when light (short wave) strikes a dark solid. Dark objects exposed to sunlight will get warm, even on a cold day. If you stand a few feet away from a brick wall that has absorbed solar radiation all day, you will still feel heat radiating from it after the sun has gone down. Heat radiation from a hot wood stove is another example of this mechanism.

Evaporation is a heat transfer process through which air can be cooled. Water added to nonsaturated (dry) air is absorbed and cools the air. Evaporative cooling processes can either be natural such as when plants give off moisture to the atmosphere or sweat evaporates from your skin, or they can be forced such as in a mechanical evaporative cooler. Evaporative cooling processes are enhanced with ventilation.

There are three primary solar design approaches to solar building design.

  1. Thermal Mass - The building structure and materials are utilized to meet the heating and cooling requirements by means of storing warmth and coolth. Materials of high thermal capacity and density are often used for both their characteristics to impede heat flow as well as storage of heat or cold. Typical materials include adobe and its' variations (rammed earth, etc.), brick, concrete, water, and composite thermal storage materials with integrated insulation and thermal breaks, etc.. The advantage of a high mass structure is that it is a part of the heating and cooling system and can carry on for a number of days in the face power failures or inclement weather. This capability also requires much less in the way of mechanical heating and cooling equipment. Enhancement of the high mass capabilities is achieved through the use of "out-sulation", the addition of an insulated external wall barrier.
  2. Thermal Skin - The building envelope is comprised of a highly efficient thermal barrier, effectively reducing the intrusion of summer heat or loss of wintertime heat. The reduction of unwanted summer heat gain to the interior and/or winter heat lost to the cold translates to a reduction in the need to provide replacement heat, or cooling, thereby requiring less equipment and less energy consumed. Typical materials include highly insulated heavier frame construction; insulation panels with integral frame structure; double envelope systems, straw bale construction, composite materials of insulation and structure, etc..
  3. Composite - The building envelope is a thermal "skin" approach with much of the building's interior elements of floors (exposed brick, tile, and concrete); walls (high mass thermal storage interior walls, bancos; and structural and decorative elements (masonry and/or encased water) providing the storage for natural heating and cooling.
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Solar Application & Integration

APPLICATION - IMAGE 01Active and passive solar systems equipment - that hardware and elements which capture the sun’s energy for heating bath and wash water; heating swimming pools for extended season use; generating electricity to power devices; cooking food; warming and cooling buildings, etc. Solar equipment use is growing in Arizona neighborhoods, cities and towns.APPLICATION - IMAGE 02 Buildings are incorporating solar as part of the basic equipment package. People want to use solar equipment because it is cost effective, resource saving, simple to use and understand, and there is a logical, direct and unencumbered energy resource in the sun as it moves across the sky.


Solar equipment which provides for a building’s performance and the residents needs, is no longer some “future” thing - Today, solar elements and panels are part of the mainstream with other element of in the building equipment palette - electric service and distribution; gas meters and pipes; water meters and piping, water heaters, fire sprinkler systems; waste water pipes and vent stacks; air conditioners; evaporative coolers; heating systems; television receivers and connections; phone lines and junction boxes; etc. All these systems are integral elements of a buildings’ operation in meeting human needs as well as comforts. To this list, and in many cases, replacing some items on the list, Arizonans are incorporating solar devices, equipment, and design elements. Reasons for this incorporation may vary - from saving money to saving the environment, and the applications range from use of a solar hot water heater to photovoltaic panels to cool towers.

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Just as in the use of any other type of equipment, the use of solar can have a direct impact upon a building - its’ performance, its’ look, even its’ form and shape. At the same time, the building also has an impact upon the optimal use of solar strategies and equipment used - affecting both placement and performance. To assist Arizonans in the use of the sun as another element of the citizen’s energy mix, the State of Arizona has enacted legislation that clearly stipulates that there can be no prohibition to the use of solar energy. This legislation has the intent and effect of both encouraging as well as protecting Arizonan citizens right to solar utilization.


ISSUES: (top)

* Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions

APPLICATION - IMAGE 05 As Arizona’s population and economy grow, there is also growth in the building market. Increasing numbers of people means more buildings, and meeting the need for more buildings results in developments and subdivisions. These developments reflect the public’s desire and demand for neighborhood identity and integrity, and to this end developments often have defined conditions of building and site appropriateness, identified as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.

Historically, CC&Rs were drafted to mitigate, among other things, unsightly installations of roof-mounted equipment of television aerials, evaporative coolers and heating/air conditioning equipment and unkempt yards and properties. Definitive CC&R’s established an aesthetic standard in order to maintain visual integrity, which was believed to be a primary element in maintaining property value. Some of todays CC&Rs have precise definitions down to building style, materials, and even color. Unfortunately overly restrictive CC&Rs promote situations where all buildings look alike and there is no visual interest and disallowance for variation, reducing a neighborhood “look” to one of sameness and boring homogeneity.

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subdivisions


Today, subdivision requirements have a common restriction - generally, no equipment visible on a building, most notably the roof. In order to maintain an aesthetic of clean lines and building form, equipment such as coolers, air conditioners, and television aerials must be located elsewhere or be visually screened. This prohibition accomplished its’ original purpose in screening or removing unsightly mechanical equipment from the skyline and placing it out of view.


Unfortunately, this “no equipment on the roof” restriction comes into conflict with optimal conditions of solar equipment placement, effective solar equipment utilization, good solar design, and sometimes is even in direct conflict with Arizona law encouraging use of solar energy. Ideally, the installation of solar equipment should be achieve optimum performance for the Owner, but restrictive CC&Rs have negatively impacted performance by forcing placement of equipment in situations of limited exposure to the sun; locations that require longer runs (of piping, wiring, etc.) than necessary; locations which require restrictive, and sometimes costly, screens; and/or placement of equipment in less than optimum exposure angle to the sun, each and all of which provide less than optimal results for the building owner.


APPLICATION - IMAGE 08 Recently, in litigation involving a Home Owner Association’s (HOA) attempt to restrict residents use of solar equipment on building rooftops (the only, and most effective, place it could be used), Arizona courts ruled against the restriction, and reinforced the solar rights of Arizona citizens. Additionally, the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), has initiated workshops and activities with HOAs throughout Arizona to provide effective and appropriate definitions and implementation of solar equipment incorporation standards, in order mitigate future conflicts between homeowners and HOAs, and to meet State legislative intent. To this end, the Az. Department of Commerce Energy Office has supported AriSEIA in this endeavor, and continues to be a resource for Arizona citizens.

* Design and Aesthetics

APPLICATION - IMAGE 09 The desire for optimum equipment performance of equipment often results in the need to mitigate site specific conditions through additional structure - mounting solar panels on racks for proper tilt angles and exposure. These racks, placed on roofs for optimum exposure, have come under fire and rejection from Homeowner Associations committed to maintaining the aesthetic qualities of the neighborhood. While effective in establishing proper orientation and attitude of solar panels toward the sun, these installations project a discontinuity with the building design and are perceived by many as ugly and unsightly appendages to otherwise attractive buildings.

Today’s subdivisions have fallen into stylistic characterizations (Santa Fe style, California tile roofs, etc.) instead of evolving from appropriate environmental response which would result in a truly Arizona style. Subdivisions are laid out with numerous considerations - density, views, circulation, etc. with little or no consideration is for basic tenets of good energy, solar and environmental design.

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Energy issues are met by adding insulation and efficient mechanical systems without consideration of using positive aspects, or mitigating negative impacts of the site and the climate to reduce both the amount of equipment used, and the amount of energy required to run it. Effective energy benefiting actions involving orientation, building shape, space planning, amount of glass, and/or incorporation of active and passive solar and energy efficient equipment as part of the building shell are overlooked. Desert houses face west into the intense sun; roofs are flat in snow country; inordinate areas of glass wrap buildings forcing residents to take defensive measures; and building forms and structure do not readily allow for integration of solar equipment as part of the building’s fabric.


APPLICATION - IMAGE 12While the idea and ideal of maintaining a neighborhood character and quality is desirable, current design and construction practices make integration of solar strategies and equipment problematic, and when coupled with CC&R restrictions regarding solar equipment, provide conditions for conflict, penalties, litigation and unhappiness - all which are counter to the heart of a neighborhood environment and value - one of belonging and being a part of shared community, and being able to use Arizona’s most prevalent resource - the sun.

APPLICATION - IMAGE 13Solar integration is easily implemented in the design and construction of a new building - equipment and element incorporation can be executed to make the project a seamless and integrated “whole”. Proper building orientation and siting can be determined. Appropriate building form can simplify the incorporation of equipment into the structure. Proper space planning can optimize the distribution systems related to solar equipment use (piping, wiring, etc.).


APPLICATION - IMAGE 14More problematic is the integration of solar devices and elements into the existing Arizona building stock.

Existing buildings come in an array of orientations, forms, roof shapes, construction and materials - some very compatible with use of solar strategies and integration of equipment, and others contrary to good solar design posing problematic conditions for the building owner wishing to use solar. Even award winning Arizona architecture suffers from this poor consideration, with glass walled boxes in the dessert. Sites may not have any appropriate location for a solar installation. Building roofs may not have appropriate angle or orientation to the sun. Restrictive CC&Rs may prohibit the placement of equipment on a effective south facing roof, or require screening that may effectively reduce equipment performance, or force placement of equipment in locations which effect performance.


APPLICATION - IMAGE 15Whether it be new or old buildings, Arizonans respond positively to the idea of an integrated “whole”. Additions and renovations that provide a visual continuity are more readily received and enjoyed than those projects which have additions are perceived as unsightly because of their incompatibility of form or integration. What is needed is a result which meets both the functional requirements of the equipment and aesthetic sensibilities of the people, providing the best for Arizonans and Arizona architecture.

Of course site and situation, and type of system play a role in where equipment winds up. A passive thermosiphon hot water system with separate storage may have a lower location for panels than a hot water heating system which uses pumps, which would allow for panels to be placed on the roof. Photovoltaic panels may be fixed systems integrated into a sun struck roof, or be ground mounted for ease of access or for use with a tracking system.


TOWARD SOLAR EQUIPMENT USE AND INTEGRATION (top)

APPLICATION - IMAGE 16 The sun’s movement is in a predictable pattern. As the earth makes its annual elliptical trip around the sun, its axial tilt provides for the seasonal changes in the northern hemisphere. The summer sun is high overhead and its appearance and impact are longer in duration and more intense during summers, whereas the sun’s appearance is shorter in duration and lower in the horizon as it traverses the winter sky. Like all applications that use the sun’s energy, exposure is a primary and critical element. While simple direct exposure will get results, ideal positioning provides the optimum performance of any piece of solar equipment, whether it is a solar water heater, a photovoltaic panel, a solar cooker or even a passive solar heated building.

APPLICATION - IMAGE 17


The 3 primary aspects of optimizing performance of solar equipment are uninterrupted exposure to the sun through orientation; appropriate angle to the sun (tilt angle); and effective placement.

Orientation

APPLICATION - IMAGE 18Maximum performance of solar equipment and passive heating strategies is based on continued exposure to the sun. Outputs are optimized when there is clear connection to the sun for the entirety of daylight hours - the more exposure to the sun, the more water can be heated, the more electricity generate, and the more heat can be generated for comfort. Collector locations must be face the sun’s path as it traverses the south sky, free of shade, for the entirety of daylight hours.

Tilt Angle

APPLICATION - IMAGE 19Solar water heating is most effective when it can provide hot water under coldest conditions - i.e. winter. The winter sun is lower on the horizon so the ideal angle of a collector should more vertical (to 45 degrees). Solar pool heating is more in demand in the colder parts of the year so this angle of exposure can be equally important. Solar cooking in the winter is more effective. This tilt angle is a very necessary condition for optimizing solar equipment use.

Positioning and orientation have significant impact upon the performance of any system. For example an array of PV panels tilted to the sun produces over 50% more electricity than one, which is simply vertical.

Location

APPLICATION - IMAGE 20Location of equipment is a critical consideration. Placement optimizes conditions by having short runs of delivery - water heated by a solar collector should have as short a run to the storage and/or use as possible to minimize transfer heat losses. Electrical installations benefit from short delivery systems. Reduced runs mean less material, less labor and materials for installation, less maintenance in the future, and less overall cost.

An additional benefit of solar equipment placement is one that directly impacts the shape and form of a building, adding visual interest as a byproduct of the solar functionality. Passive solar buildings take their form and shape from the direct relationship in using nature’s resources. Axial elongation along the East/West axis to provide more southern exposure and minimize unwanted east and west exposures to intense summer sun; roof forms and/or elements which incorporate solar equipment and strategies; specifically calculated overhangs to protect from summer sun high in the sky while allowing for the access of lower angle winter sun; vertical forms of cooling tower projections; recessed windows and doorways for thermal tempering; and colors and textures which enhance taking advantage or mitigating conditions.

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APPLICATIONS AND EXAMPLES (top)
Implementation of solar equipment and solar strategies have a range of options, from integration on site to integration as part of a building. Currently, there are 2 major pieces of solar equipment - solar water heater systems (panels, piping, storage) and photovoltaic panels (electricity generation from sunlight, wiring, electrical equipment, electrical “storage” for off grid installation) , with a number of other pieces of solar applications like cookers, roof ponds, thermal chimneys, cool towers, etc.

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water heater

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pv

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roof pond

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cool tower


Arizonans have been resourceful, creative and ingenious in the incorporation of solar equipment and strategies into their lives and their sites. Rural Arizona, in particular, has less governmental and subdivision restrictions regarding codes and CC&Rs, more sense of rootedness, and more commitment to using solar and renewables. The variations of solar integration range across the State from urban areas to rural sites, and they all are responses to conditions, type of equipment and application, and needs of their Owners. Integration may result in the following applications:

1) Equipment placement adjacent to the building

* Ground mounting

In some cases, if there is appropriate access to the sun, ground mounting has been used successfully in Arizona for fixed photovoltaic panel arrays as well as individual panels on trackers, which follow the course of the sun to optimize operation. Panels mounted in open areas on a site allow for freedom of operation and movement necessary for a tracking system, and/or for ease of installation, access for maintenance and adjustment for both tracking and fixed systems.

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tracker
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rack
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tracker

This may also be an appropriate integration strategy for passive hot water heating systems, which use non-mechanical thermosiphon circulation methods for heating water for personal use, or for use in radiant heating of floors. Since hot water rises, and cold water settles, the thermosiphon water heating system has water, heated by the sun at the collector, naturally rising to a storage tank or through radiant heating pipes embedded in floors, and the colder water from the storage tank or the floor system, is circulated back to the panel. This convective loop runs continuously as the sun shines and works well as long as the collector panel heating the water is below the level of the delivery or storage system. Some applications with south sloping sites, place collector panels below the floor level of the house to capitalize on the thermosiphon effect of this passive approach.

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Prescott house
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Wright house

APPLICATION - IMAGE 32In these ground-mounting applications, solar equipment is located in response to the ease of location, ease of access, and direct and easy maintenance or in response to the terrain, type of equipment, and end use - sloped site integrating a passive thermosiphon water heater with end use being heating of a building and/or for domestic purposes. Some such installations have integrated equipment as part of a building element such as a porch or deck.

In all cases, proper orientation as well proper tilt angles can be easily achieved, thereby having equipment operate at its optimum in providing electricity and/or hot water.

* Separate structure mounting -

APPLICATION - IMAGE 33Sometimes, equipment is mounted on, an adjacent structure. Photovoltaic systems that are completely off-grid and provide for the entirety of electrical service of a house require an extensive amount of batteries in order to store enough electricity for nighttime and overcast day usage. Use of batteries entail the need for an extensive amount of space as well as an area that is well ventilated in order to dissipate the hydrogen gas that is formed. Some applications provide a dedicated structure for this purpose and incorporate the photovoltaic panels and equipment such as inverters into the structure, thereby minimizing runs between panels, inverters, and storage.


Solar water heating systems used for heating pool water in order to extend the swimming season, can be incorporated into trellis and shading structures that are part of a patio and pool area. Since there is no necessity for storage (the pool water is heated directly) this provides a direct connection with short runs and minimal line loss inefficiencies.


2. Equipment placement as additions to the building (top)

APPLICATION - IMAGE 34Equipment can be mounted directly on the building as a separate element or appendage. While solar elements can be attached to any part of a building that has good southern exposure to the sun, the most advantageous location at the roof. Roofs generally provide a condition of unencumbered and unshaded access to the sun’s path, and the location puts equipment out of the way. Additionally, a roof application can allow for placement of equipment directly above other elements of a system (hot water tank, mechanical room for photovoltaic equipment, etc.) thereby reducing runs which may reduce commensurate installation and materials costs, and reduce transfer losses.

 

APPLICATION - IMAGE 35Ideal exposure of photovoltaic and solar water heating panels is to the south and at an angle which maximizes the performance of the panels. Since the winter sun is available for a shorter time than in the summer, and is lower to the horizon, equipment performance is optimized when tilted at an angle that puts it perpendicular to the sun’s rays. This tilt angle has a direct impact on the output of the system. Summertime conditions are less a factor, primarily because there is so much sun for a longer period of time.


Many existing and new buildings are not properly sited for optimum south sun exposure, nor have roofs designed and constructed with proper tilt angle orientation to the sun. Some have no tilt at all, incorporating the prevalent Santa Fe flat roof style. These conditions force owners to live with, or mitigate negative conditions.

* Rack installations

APPLICATION - IMAGE 36 Equipment can be placed on roof-mounted racks which place panels at the correct orientation and angle to the sun. Rack mounted panels can be used to mitigate conditions of poorly oriented roofs; roofs with improper tilt angles, and flat roofs. While effective in providing proper conditions for equipment performance these installations are perceived as unsightly and incomputable with the building design, and have been the crux of recent conflicts between homeowners and their Home Owner Associations (HOA). While Arizona courts have made judgment in favor of the homeowner in this conflict, the fact still remains that some rooftop solar installations still have the issue of visual incompatibility with the building form and design.

* Screening

In order to address the issue of visual discontinuity and intrusion, some installations have incorporated screen elements which prevent viewing the equipment and racks. While screening can be executed in a manner to blend with the building architecture in flat roof situations, it is much more problematic in pitched roof and poor orientation conditions. Screening and other such visual barriers must be large enough and spaced from the equipment sufficiently in order to minimize shading which negatively impacts performance. The addition of visual screening also adds cost to the solar installation.

* Flush Mounting

Equipment can be placed flush to existing roof slopes in order to provide a compatible installation with the building’s architecture. These installations can incorporate trim, which visually integrates the equipment into the roof structure. Arizona owners and contractors have successfully installed solar equipment that is visually compatible with existing roof pitches and materials, and having the aesthetic impact equivalent to a skylight.

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While effectively providing visual compatibility, such placements result in less than optimal performance of equipment due to less than ideal orientations and exposure to the sun.


3. Integrated Installations (top)

APPLICATION - IMAGE 39 Combining building form and optimal functional requirements of solar strategies and equipment, this approach integrates solar equipment and strategies as a part of the building fabric and architectural expression and design, sometimes coupling multiple energy and resource efficiency strategies. The building planning, design and construction provide appropriate conditions for energy efficient operations and integration of active and passive solar equipment.

* Solar Integrated Buildings

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An integrated solar energy building incorporates ideal conditions for both passive and active solar applications, from space heating and cooling to power generation to incorporation of solar hot water systems. Integrated energy buildings, and building elements, are correctly located in terms of orientation, and exposure to the sun and correctly structured to provide appropriately angled roofs and elements for optimal solar equipment performance. Additionally, an integrated solar energy building is one that evolves its design and expression - its character and style - from the attributes of its solar (active and passive) and energy characteristics.

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Integrated systems solar buildings vary in execution and expression, even while maintaining common attributes and premises related to environmental conditions and resources in both passive and active solar applications.

Orientation to the south allows for use of the sun for passive heating purposes in cold climes and for mitigation of negative west and east sun heat in dessert conditions. This is also an ideal condition for solar equipment performance. In some projects, south facing roofs are angled to appropriate tilt angles and equipment is mounted directly as another “skin” to the building fabric. It is known that an array of PV panels tilted to the sun produces over 50% more electricity than one which is simply vertical. Collectors, whether water heating or photovoltaic, become one with the building form and expression.

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solar integrated south facing roofs

* Building Integrated Photovoltaic Systems

New developments in photovoltaic systems are bringing panels that both generate electricity and are part of the roofing system. This dual function application easily incorporates to solar building design and construction that provides appropriate roof pitches for optimum solar exposure. The photovoltaic system, a solid state semiconductor technology converting the sun’s energy directly to electricity, without moving parts, making noise or making emissions, is developed as a Building Integrated PV system which integrates this technology into the building construction, sometimes replacing or integrating with existing construction materials that form the building’s exterior “skin” - i.e. the roof or wall system. The PV system then becomes a dual-purpose element, not only generating electricity for the inhabitants but also acting as the roof and/or wall of segment thereof, of the building.

Appropriately oriented and pitched roofs are also compatible for inclusion of solar hot water panels that benefit from ideal exposure and placement and benefit the building design with integrated design elements much like skylights add visual interest to roof lines.

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Integrated Solar/Energy Building Elements (top)

Not all integrated energy applications must encompass entire roofs on a monolithic building block. Buildings derive aesthetic interest from their component elements like clerestorey windows, chimney structures, overhangs and facia designs, and from building massing and variations in wall planes.

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The integrated solar energy building incorporates solar equipment and applications into this scale of building element. A north facing rooftop clerestorey windows can provide the structure for south facing solar equipment on the back side, thereby combining two functions - one of introducing daylight - the other of producing hot water and/or electricity, within the same structural element.

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APPLICATION - IMAGE 51This solar/day lighting element can also include openable windows and glazing to facilitate building natural ventilation exhaust of unwanted interior heat. Now there are four functions for the one building element...

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it provides natural illumination

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it provides for natural ventilation and building cooling


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it provides a place for solar water or photovoltaic panels, and...

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it provides an interesting and dramatic building design element.

Examples of element/solar integration is the placement of photovoltaic panels as a part of the building eave system, and the integration of water heating solar panels into a south wall. 

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Multiple functional building elements is a strategy that lends itself to solar installations in existing buildings. While it may not be desirable to incorporate a solar device into an existing building fabric because of renovation costs, it may be quite feasible and desirable to do a single modifying action that has multiple applications including solar. Besides improving functionality to a building, the multiple energy/solar modification pays for itself with savings that is realized in energy efficiencies, and in savings realized in the use of solar equipment. It is a modification that will pay for itself in energy saved and in the increase in property value.


Solar applications are a growing reality in the building landscape. Traditional perceptions of aesthetics, appropriateness, and value are changing in response to the realities of energy and environmental considerations, need for energy security, and desire for energy stability and self-sufficiency. Buildings are incorporating environmental design strategies in response to site conditions, and available natural resources, and are incorporating solar equipment and devices, which impact building design and construction. Buildings that integrate solar attributes and equipment define themselves in a form and expression that reflects local conditions and resources. The careful and considerate integration of solar, energy and environmental elements into the building, whether existing or new, is a benefit that manifests itself as the basis of a truly indigenous and local architecture (images below are examples).

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This presentation was constructed by the Arizona Solar Energy Association for the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. under contract with the Arizona Dept. of Commerce Energy Office, funded by the Dept. of Energy Million Solar Roofs program. Materials and information were provided by a number of sources.


Financial support for this presentation has been provided by the Arizona Department of Commerce (Energy Office) and the U.S. Department of Energy through (DOE) Grant No. DE-FG51-01R021250. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Energy Office or U.S. DOE. The State of Arizona and U.S. DOE assume no liability for damages arising from errors, omissions or representations contained in this presentation.

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Resource Maps

Wind, Solar Photovoltaic, Collocated Geothermal, Concentrating Solar Power, and Biomass

(US Department of Energy, NREL; map descriptions courtesy Tom Acker)

  • Photos obtained from the gallery below are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.

Click for larger map...

Solar Photovoltaic Resource

The solar photovoltaic resource maps provides average daily total solar resource information on grid cells of approximately 40 km by 40 km in size. The insolation values represent the resource available to a flat-plate collector, such as a photovoltaic panel, oriented due south at an angle from horizontal equal to the latitude of the collector location.

Click for larger map...

Click for larger map...

Concentrating Solar Power Resource

The concentrating solar power resource maps provide monthly average daily total solar resource information on grid cells of approximately 40 km by 40 km in size. The insolation values represent the resource available to concentrating systems that track the sun throughout the day. Such systems include concentrating solar power systems such as trough collectors or dishes.

Because the resource data are for a tracking system, the available resource tends to be higher than for non-tracking systems in sunny areas, but lower in cloudy areas, because under cloudy conditions tracking systems are unable to use any of the solar resource, which is obscured, whereas flat-plate collectors can still make use of the available sky radiation. 
Higher resolution image: .jpg

More concentrating solar power maps here.


Click for larger map...

Biomass Resources

The biomass resource maps show county-level estimates of biomass resources available for biofuels production or biomass power stations. The map includes only the resources available from crop and forest residues. They do not include managed crop or forest resources, urban residues, municipal solid waste (MSW), or landfill gas (LFG).

 

Wind Resources (AZ and United States)

Arizona Wind Resources Map - Click for larger map... Arizona 50m Wind Power US 2003 Year End Wind Powre Capacity (MW) US Wind Resources Map US Wind Power Class Map

Click for larger map...

Collocated Geothermal


US Solar Radiation Maps

This map, courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), shows the average daily solar radiation (in Watt-hours per square inch) that falls on the United States. 
Click here to view map...

   Click here to view US Photovoltaic Solar Resource map...
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Living with the Sun - Arizona Style - 8 Modules

Modules prepared by the Arizona Solar Energy Association & the Arizona Solar Center for the Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office under a contract from the U.S. Dept. of Energy Million Solar Roof Program.

(Links are to other sections on website.)

1. Living with the Sun - Arizona Style - Overview
2. Solar Hot Water
3. Solar Cooking
4. Passive Solar Energy
5. Solar Application and Integration
6. Residential Grid-tie PV
7. Residential Stand-alone PV
8. Environmental Portfolio Standard

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Virtual Solar Tour Test

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Vision of a Solar Arizona

A time when significant amounts of clean energy are generated from the power of the sun – may be closer than you think.  In this presentation, compiled by the Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office in 2002, you’ll learn of  efforts to maximize the utilization of renewable energy across the state. This was developed as part of the Million Solar Roofs program, which concluded in 2006.

Photo contributors for this presentation: Al Nichols Engineering, Arizona Energy Office, Arizona Solar Center, Arizona Public Service, Arizona Solar Energy Ind. Association, American Solar, Calex Homes, City of Glendale, City of Tucson, John Miller Homes, Living Systems Architecture, Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti, Prescott College, Salt River Project, US DOE - NREL

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Living with the Sun - Arizona Style

Arizona is a land of physical and climatic diversity -

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from the San Francisco Peaks to the Sonoran desert, Arizonans past and present have adapted to this land of diversity and often to conditions of climatic intensity. The heat of the desert summer sun and the cold of a mountain winter have had direct impact on the form and shape of our buildings, and the patterns of our behavior.

Living with the sun is the characteristic of a truly Arizona architecture, not rooted in national stylistic trends but in environmental conditions, local resources and climatic appropriateness. Living with the Sun - Arizona Style recognizes and uses on-site environmental conditions to meet human needs and comfort. Energy and resource efficient strategies are used to optimize comfort while minimizing environmental resource depletion, and economic waste.

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 04Through time there are examples of Arizonans Living With the Sun.  The early cliff dwelling of Montezuma’s Castle, often romanticized as Arizona’s first solar building, does reflect solar design principles. While clearly not “designed” as a solar building, has passive solar attributes including south orientation; deep “eaves” (cave roof) which shades in the summer and allows low winter sun penetration; and thermal mass (solar heat storing capabilities of the stone building materials.

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Through time, Arizonans have evolved solar strategies in their buildings and their equipment.


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 07Passive solar water heaters were used on buildings like the historic Ellis-Shackleford house and the historic Tempe Bakery, and both public and private desert buildings responded to the need for shade and cross ventilation. The Yuma Hotel had windows down to the floor and balconies so beds could be pushed outside for a cool night sleep environment. Phoenix hotels had large sleeping porches where rolls of burlap were unfurled and wet down to gain an evaporative cooling effect.

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Houses were constructed with proper orientations - broad side with windows to capture the winter sun’s warmth, and with overhangs that controlled direct impact from the high summer sun.


The narrow sides of buildings were oriented to minimize exposure to the intense summer east and west sun. The cooking porch, and even a separate cooking ramada (an idea borrowed from Arizona’s native American and Hispanic population) were often provided to “keep the kitchen heat out of the house in the summer”. Materials were masonry and adobe, which provided both thermal mass in conditions where heat retention was a benefit, and a thermal barrier where heat was desired to be excluded.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 10 Arizona history is replete with solar applications. During the Indian Wars, the heliograph was used as a communication device.

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 11The Aeneas solar pump was installed to irrigate the agricultural lands where Tempe now stands, and Arizona ranch houses in northern part of the State incorporated large porches, open and screened, as cool places for evening use as well as sleeping.

Living With the Sun - Arizona Style continues today -

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 12In every corner of Arizona there are solar and green buildings. Some constructed twenty years ago, continue to function just fine today. Newer buildings, incorporating current knowledge of passive building design integrated with effective solar equipment of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels, continue to appear.

Groupings of solar buildings, as in the Civano subdivision and the Milagro co-housing projects in Tucson, are appearing, and the variety of solar strategies used provide a growing richness in solar building form and shape and architectural language. 

Today, Living With the Sun - Arizona Style can be seen in numerous solar buildings throughout the State every October during the annual tour of solar buildings put on by the Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA) in conjunction with the American Society of Solar Energy’s (ASES) National Tour of Solar buildings. The Arizona Solar Energy Association, a Chapter of ASES, in association with the Arizona Solar Center, mounts and sponsors local tours on consecutive weekends at different locations around the State throughout the month and solar home owners open their doors to the public and share their experiences.

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  • The following is a compilation of solar, renewable energy, and green buildings that demonstrate Arizona’s rich and varied use of the sun - Living With the Sun - Arizona Style


TAYLOR/SNOWFLAKE AREA

(top)

The high desert area of Taylor provides its residents with clear, cold winters, sunny summers, and flat areas where the winds blow. Low vegetation mixed with Arizona independence have resulted in a number of Living With the Sun variations, within the community’s mix of historic and contemporary buildings.


# 1 Residence - Taylor Arizona

A passive solar heated building utilizing south face direct solar gain, south side living spaces, thermal mass walls and floor. Cooling is by virtue of the thick thermal walls, effective cross ventilation and a centrally located, operable oculus window at the top of the building. Solar equipment includes energy efficient lighting and resource conserving fixtures and a ground mounted batch water heater

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exterior - south side; south side with solar hot water heater


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interior - direct gain and thermal mass floors


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interior stair case


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operable venting oculus above stairs interior mass wall decor

# 2 Earthship Residence - Taylor Arizona

This Earthship building, utilizing interlaced tires packed with earth for both structure as well as thermal mass, is heavily integrated with the earth on its north side and has thermal mass walls and floors. Full glazing on the south to allows for passive direct solar gain for heating and the thermal mass structure retains gained heat and releases it back to the spaces to maintain a comfortable setting. Recycled materials and the earth of the site provide effective thermal mass as both a barrier to intense cold as well as summer heat, and a wonderful medium for solar heating system. Recycled materials also are used in the buildings’ decorative courtyard walls.  Renewable energy equipment include solar water heating system, wind generator, and photovoltaic panels

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earth and tire integration


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south facade solar windows


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entry court

entry with direct gain heating and thermal mass floors


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interiors - south side - circulation with direct gain solar windows and thermal mass floor


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interior - thermal mass partition wall, floor

access to built in solar oven at South facing wall


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exterior wing wall and decorative patio wall with recycled containers


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close-up of recycled containers decorative wall


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direct gain south glazing wall with wind generator in background


# 3 Residence - Taylor Arizona

(top)

Backed into a south facing slope, this building opens itself to the south sun for passive system direct gain heating using south facing solar windows and thermal mass tile floors and thermal mass walls. The 2 story structure has living spaces oriented to benefit from the winter sun and the building has an air lock entry zone reducing the negative condition of heat loss whenever people come and go. Equipment includes energy and resource efficient fixtures and a batch solar water heater.

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exterior - south court, south window wall for direct gain, clerestorey solar windows, solar water heater


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interior - solar window, floor tile thermal mass


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interior - south facing solar windows for direct gain

batch water heater


# 4 Kerr Residence - Taylor Arizona

(slides) pending 

A simple thermal mass structure with south facing windows for direct solar gain and the inclusion of a solar green space for both plant production as well as for heat, and built in solar ovens on the south face of the kitchen. Barbara Kerr is a long time common-sense solar and resource conserving advocate and is internationally known for her work in solar cooking and resource independence. The structure is the headquarters for an institute which teaches people from around the globe the ease and wisdom of Living With the Sun.

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# 4 Greenhouses - Snowflake/Taylor Arizona

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 44 Numerous houses in this part of the state incorporate solar greenhouses to existing building for both heating as well as vegetation. These attached green spaces are simple and cost effective, mounted on the south side of houses. These attached greenhouses are a combination of the Direct and Indirect Gain methods of heating. The sunspace is heated directly and the gathered heat can be allowed to transfer into other parts of the building by the operation of existing doors and windows in the building’s primary south wall. these can be opened or closed to control and moderate the heat from the greenhouse to the living spaces.


SEDONA/VERDE VALLEY AREA

(top)

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Even the Sedona park department incorporates solar into their equipment and community life. Park and kiosk lighting is powered by photovoltaic installations which are effective, inexpensive, stable, sturdy and safe - especially in an environmentally conscious community like Sedona.


# 1 - Charles & Mary’s Place

A passive solar house, functioning very well since its construction over 20 years ago, the passive heating system is thermal mass with direct solar gain windows on the south side, and penetrated interior walls to allow for deep penetration of the sun’s rays and circulation of captured south side heat. The south side sunspace, a narrow space backed with Kalwall thermal water tubes define the direct sun catching area from the rest of the house and add color as a decorative element. Nestled into the terrain on the north, the north side of the building is earth integrated with earth up to the window sills. Clerestorey windows and cross ventilation coupled with the thermal mass of the building provide for the cooling in Sedona summers. Efficient equipment include a pellet fireplace unit, and energy and resource efficient fixtures. Solar equipment includes 2 batch water heaters which have fully met their needs.

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entry art

Charles & Mary


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exteriors South face - direct gain windows, direct gain clerestorey


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exterior - east facade - showing building backed into slope, pitched roof line for maximum solar penetration through the building and low profile from northerly storms.


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north side earth integration - earth to bottom of window sill


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interior - north window - with at earth integration, thermal shades and drapes


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interior - Clerestorey windows for interior direct gain


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direct gain sunspace with south facing windows and thermal mass floor


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thermal mass thermal tubes between sunspace and dining area


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tandem batch water heaters


# 2 Searle Residence - Sedona, Arizona

A passive solar heated house utilizing thermal mass, direct gain and indirect gain, and a isolated gain green space. South facing windows coupled with clerestorey windows to allow for deeper penetration of the sun’s rays, as well as the illumination benefits of sunlight. Solar penetration impacts thermal mass in the floors and walls and the building structure absorbs warmth and reradiates it at a later time as the spaces cool in the nights. Eaves are calculated for best protection from summer conditions and optimum access to the low winter sun. One section of the building eave has designed-in retractable eaves to allow more access of the winter sun radiation. Space planning places living spaces on the south side and secondary spaces on the north. additional north side buffering comes from a raised planter against the north side. Cooling is attained by the natural attributes of the structure’s thermal mass, effective cross ventilation design, and the operable clerestorey windows. Designed with energy conserving strategies including exterior trellises, as well as surrounding vegetation which creates a zone of coolness. Equipment includes a solar water heater, energy and resource efficient fixtures and an energy efficient fireplace.

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exterior - south elevation

north side berming


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interior - south facing direct gain windows - kitchen, dining area


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interior - direct gain clerestorey windows with operable insulating panels - to keep captured heat in during cold winter nights


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interior - thermal window with custom, decorative insulating shutters for heat retention


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direct gain south face windows


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calculated overhangs with “retractable section”


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sunspace - a direct gain area of the house which can be sealed off or opened up to the rest of the residence, thereby allowing for the use as a greenhouse and/or as a heat collection area which can share its bounty if door and vents are opened


# 3 - Radoccia Complex Verde Valley

A complex of buildings, grown over time, this facility houses a variety of structures and activities. Heating is passive direct solar gain with glazing on the south face coupled with structural thermal mass of the building’s materials. Cooling is by virtue of the inherent capabilities of the thermal mall of the structure, cross ventilation, and effective landscape planning and incorporation. This system provides for a comfortable environment whether it is the living quarters or working areas of the complex. Power generation is by means of several appropriately sited photovoltaic arrays adjacent to the facility they serve. Power for the water tank that sits on the upper hill, power for the residence, power for the guest facility and power for the owner’s business are located adjacent and meet all demands.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 67

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 68

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 69

exterior views, with PV panel, exterior - south facing windows for direct solar gain,


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 71

interiors - south direct gain heating from sunlight, and thermal mass floors and/or walls


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solar cooker and solar cat - both benefiting from the sun’s energy


# 4 Joe’s Place Verde Valley

Built in the time of the energy and environmental crises, this house has withstood the test of time and done it efficiently and comfortably. Direct gain solar heating coupled with thermal mass walls and floors continue to attain warm comfort, and effective thermal mass coupled with cross ventilation provide for cooling needs. Thermal mass materials, orientation, and a vertical stacking with venting windows capture prevailing breezes or cooler air adjacent to the house and vent out warmer interior air through upper windows.

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exterior


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 75

interior - direct gain space with thermal mass floors and walls


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interior - thermal mass fireplace


# 5 Sarah’s Place Verde Valley

A newly built residence, this simple structure integrates direct solar gain and thermal mass walls and floor to provide heat comfort for the occupants. Simple spaces, south facing windows, minimization of east and west exposures, and strong mitigation of north side winter heat loss by means of a recessed entry and entry hall add to the efficiencies of this building.

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exterior north side


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exterior - south side with direct gain solar and clerestorey windows


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interior - thermal mass wall and deep light penetration from clerestorey solar windows


# 6 Solar Equipment - Sedona and Verde Valley Installations

Sedona and the Verde Valley have numerous installations of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels. A variety of houses, in a variety of income levels incorporate this equipment as a part of the building’s energy strategy. While some of the water systems are old they are still functioning and meeting the needs of the residents.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 85

variety of solar hot water and PV installations


# 7 Residence - Cornville, Arizona

An owner built energy efficient wood frame structure, the living spaced are stacked above a large large rock bin within a highly insulated enclosure directly beneath the living spaces. The bin contains a large water tank surrounded by rocks and 2 plenums (ducts). Water, heated at roof top solar collectors, is circulated to the tank which in turn heats the rocks surrounding it . Over the course of the day, constant circulation heats both the tank water and the rocks. When heating is required, floor vents at the bottom most living space are opened and heated air rises from the bin and up through the house. Through “cool side” vents, cooler house air settles into the bin, is heated and rises and repeats the process in a natural convective loop. Hot air rises - cool air settles.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 87

exteriors - compact vertical form , angular shape to facilitate air movement


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rock bin

solar water heaters at building roof


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interior


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movable insulation at building windows to prevent heat loss


PAYSON

(top)

# 1 Residence Payson Az.

A custom solar and low resource consuming home integrated into the site, with south facing “clearview” collector windows, thermal mass, earth integration and berming, and extensive cross ventilation for cooling. The Clearview collector system is a double window system which contain an operable blind system and interior vents (low and high) to the living spaces. The system allows for direct solar gain into the living spaces by simple raising of the blinds, letting sunlight in to impact the internal thermal mass of the spaces. For more control as well as some direct mitigation of the impact of direct solar gain, the operable blinds are 2 colors - one side dark, the other white.. When heating is desired, the blinds are turned so the dark side faces outward and acts as a mini- collector system, heating the air in the double wall window cavity. Warm air is introduced into the space by a operable vent at the top of the window system and replacement air is introduced at the vent at the bottom of the window system. The circulation is natural convection with warmed air being expelled into the living space, and cool air being drawn in from the living space.. When protection is required to keep the spaces cool, the light side of the blinds are turned to face outward (reflecting unwanted solar light) and excess heat is vented to the outside.

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exterior - south wall glazing, clearview collector


PRESCOTT AREA

(top)

The Prescott area is a place where people have settled for the environmental and climatic benefits of Arizona. Scattered throughout the area are wonderful building and homes incorporating natural systems and solar design for heating of buildings, and incorporating solar equipment of water heaters and photovoltaic panels for off grid production of electricity. Buildings vary from small experimental structures to banks and medical complexes, and range from new to old.


# 1 Residence - Prescott, Arizona

A compilation of a variety of construction materials and systems from straw bale to adobe used in various forms, this house is located within a heavily vegetated area that precludes simple direct gain approach to high country solar heating. The building concentrates on energy conserving strategies of energy efficient walls to prevent heat flow (either outward or inward); incorporation of thermal mass for both a heat and cool storage; a compact form with spaces stacked upon each other; shading for cooling; cross ventilation; and resource conserving equipment and fixtures. Solar equipment is mounted on the roof of the two storey structure in order to have unimpeded access to the sun and includes both photovoltaic panels for electricity production as well as solar water heating.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 97

exterior - south side

exterior - roof with solar panels


# 2 - Buddhist Complex Prescott Valley

A Buddhist temple and learning center, this facility is totally off-grid and generates its’ own power through an array of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof of the structure which houses its equipment and storage batteries.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 99

collector array on electrical building with one of the temple buildings in the background


# 3 - Wolfberry Farm Prescott Valley

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 100This experimental farm of Prescott College is looking into the agricultural benefits and possibilities of indigenous crops like the wolfberry. The farm contains a student built straw bale structure with a photovoltaic installation and experimental solar crop dryers. The students prepare their food by means of a variety of home-made and commercial solar cookers. For more information regarding the Wolfberry Farm Project, contact Prescott College.


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straw bale farm structure

solar crop dryer structure - with south facing glazing.


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 104

various solar cookers


# 4 - Medical Building - Prescott, Arizona

A professional medical building with some passive solar heating elements including direct gain enclosed entry terrariums, direct gain windows and thermal mass for heating. and Kalwall thermal skylights with movable insulation.

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# 5 - Professional Building - Prescott, Arizona

A professional building incorporating a Trombe wall for heating. The system, invented by Frenchman Felix Trombe, is simply a dark masonry wall with upper and lower vents to the building interior, and faced (4-6” away) by windows. Sunlight streams through the glass, strikes the dark masonry wall and heat the air in the space. Heated air rises and vents into the adjacent space through upper wall openings and cooler replacement air is drawn into the space through lower wall vents. Circulation is by natural convection.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 107

exterior

exterior showing Trombe wall


# 6 Ben’s Place Prescott Valley

A residence that combines both passive and active systems, this multi-level home incorporates south facing direct solar gain and clerestory windows with thermal mass walls and floors for heating; penetrated interior walls for letting sunlight into deeper interiors; stacking of spaces to have more south room exposure; cross ventilation coupled with thermal mass for cooling; and integration of active systems equipment of photovoltaics for power generation and solar water heating system for hot water.

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exterior - south face with direct gain glazing


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interior - windows and thermal mass

interior - sunlight and thermal mass interior wall which allows penetration of sunlight from clerestorey window deeper into the building


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 112Direct gain window wall and thermal mass floor and walls. Vertical water heater in front of soaking tub made from a drinking trough.

# 7 Residence - Prescott Valley

Another passive/active combination solar house - Direct gain south windows and building structure thermal mass of cast earth with photovoltaic panels incorporated at the building’s southern roof overhang section. A thermosiphoning passive water heater system is located down slope of the residence and provides solar heated water to the residence.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 114

exterior - south facing direct gain glazing; thermosiphon water heater

interior - high window direct solar gain (heating) and ventilating (cooling)


FLAGSTAFF

(top)

# 1 Residence - Flagstaff Arizona

A direct gain, thermal mass residence providing sufficient heating for this residence.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 117

exterior - south elevation with direct gain windows

exterior - direct gain solar windows

interior - direct gain solar windows, thermal mass floors


# 2 Residence Flagstaff, Arizona

An energy efficient residence with photovoltaic panels and wind generator for electricity generation.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 119

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 120

exterior

photovoltaic array

wind generator


TUCSON

(top)

The “Old Pueblo” is replete with solar activity and buildings. The annual Solar Potluck put on by Citizens for Solar; the Civano development - a major step in providing solar and resource housing in southern Arizona; the Armory Park infill project, and the annual Tour of Innovative Homes and annual Hot Topics/Cool Solutions conference are all examples of a commitment to Living With the Sun- Arizona Style.


# 1 Straw Bale Residence - Tucson, Arizona

This energy efficient straw bale residence responds to the intense dessert heat in its compact form and highly insulating building material, coupled with the thermal mass floors which assist in keeping the living environment cool in an efficient manner when coupled with high efficiency, low energy equipment and early/late season cross ventilation. Reflective white roof and light building color adds to the energy efficient attributes of the building. Residence has a permanent solar oven installed as a basic feature of the houses’ Living With the Sun approach.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 122

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 123

exterior

solar oven

exterior - south face


# 2 Sonora Co-Housing Project - Tucson Arizona

This multi family project uses orientation, careful location and sizing of windows for optimum mitigation of undesirable summer conditions. The Straw Bale Common House contains a 2 kw grid tied photovoltaic system and will be incorporating solar hot water heaters. The lush xeriscaped landscaping with permaculture strategies provides for environmental tempering.

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# 3 Armory Park Development - Tucson, Arizona

Part of an infill project in Tucson’s historic Armory Park area, this residence incorporates passive solar dessert design features of orientation, thermal mass walls and floors, careful consideration of location and sizing of windows, cross ventilation, and incorporation of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels for electricity generation, into a form that emulates the historic character of the district.

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# 4 Civano - Tucson, Arizona

One of the first solar and environmental subdivisions in Arizona, Civano shows that good solar, environmental and natural resource design and construction can be successful in the open market. Homes range in construction from earthen materials like adobe to contemporary, energy efficient C.I.Ps. All must meet Civano energy and resource standards which are some of the most stringent in the country. The variety of design, materials, construction, passive and active solar applications, natural heating/cooling systems and highly efficient mechanical systems, and resource conserving elements of efficient water utilization and desert appropriate landscaping practices reflect the Living With the Sun - Arizona Style success.

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# 5 Weiner Residence - Tucson Mountain Foothills

Earthen materials with environmental common sense, this high insulation (r-30 walls, r-50 roof), this high thermal mass, earth integrated rammed earth residence as solar assisted hydronic heating. Recycled materials for interior framing integrate with environmentally tempering porches, natural ventilation, radiant barriers and permaculture strategies to provide summertime comfort.

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# 6 Joy Design Studio - Tucson, Arizona

Designed to fit in with the neighborhood, this contemporary architectural studio of exposed rammed earth walls and weathered steel materials, enclosed courtyard encompasses passive design strategies of high thermal mass, high insulation, and appropriately placed windows.

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# 7 Wuelpern Residence -Tucson, Arizona

A classical territorial barrior design, this building incorporates a lush interior court, and recycled materials for structure and building elements, into a rammed earth structure which is the thermal mass component of the natural cooling system of the courtyard and cross ventilation design. High performance mechanical cooling system is available, and a radiant floor heating is incorporated.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 150


VALLEY OF THE SUN

(top)

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The Valley of the sun is impacted with intense summer sun and benign winter conditions. Strategies for dealing with intense summer heat and mild winter conditions range from integrating into the earth to roof ponds. Combinations of thermal exclusion coupled with daylighting and viewing inclusion result in a variety of Living With the Sun expressions of form and shape.


# 1 Arizona National Guard Eco-Building Phoenix, Arizona

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 152The building is burrowed into the site to gain as much of the thermal benefit and barrier to heat as the earth can provide. This “Earthship” construction is of interlaced tires filled with compacted earth, plastered on the inside and out, providing very thick and dense walls which act as a barrier to unwanted summertime heat. A central landscaped atrium provides natural light and a cool outdoor environment to all the interior spaces, and an earth integrated cool tube system provides earth tempered air to the mechanical cooling systems. Active solar systems include photovoltaic panels for electricity generation, and solar water heaters. These systems, coupled with high efficiency, low resource demand equipment and fixtures, provide for the needs of the facility.

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exterior showing earth integration, berming, and photovoltaic panels

construction of tire/earth wall system

interior of tire/earth wall prior to plastering.

photovoltaic panel system integrated into building roof structure


# 2 Edwards Residence Scottsdale, Arizona

This dessert straw bale residence is part of the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program. Living With the Sun strategies include orientation, highly insulated building shell (straw bale construction, highly insulated roof, energy efficient windows, shelf shading structure ( window shading wing walls), thermal mass plenum floors for heating and cooling, a cool tower (gravity driven evaporative cooling system), and cross ventilation cooling. Heating is achieved by direct gain south windows, floor thermal mass and an energy efficient fireplace.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 158

exterior - South elevation showing direct gain windows, sun control wing walls and cool tower


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demonstration straw bale

indirect gain windows, thermal mass floor, straw bale walls


# 3 Cosanti Scottsdale, Arizona

The Cosanti Foundation’s location and demonstration of Paolo Soleri’s vision and applications for Living With the Sun. Earth integration, whole site planning, vegetation and shading, cool courts and warm courts, thermal mass as both barrier and heater, and direct gain applications.

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earth integrated shell structure with indigenous landscaping

earth integrated shell structure


# 4 Tierra Y Sol - Fountain Hills, Arizona

This compact, energy efficient, solar residence backs into a north facing slope and capitalizes on the inherent coolness of the earth and the down slope fall of cool summer evening air, as well as thermal mass walls with insulation on the exterior; terraced space planning to allow falling cooled air to cascade downward through the structure; thermal chimney effect of a raised central spine which also provides natural light at the building core; cool court and warm court integration; cross ventilation; and solar water heating.

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exterior exterior showing exterior insulation and integrated solar collectors exterior - south side

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interior - living area on cool (down slope side of house) interior - thermal vent and cross ventilation core

# 5 Roof Pond House - Phoenix, Arizona

Built over 20 years ago, this house was the basis for a Department of Energy demonstration of the applicability of roof ponds for heating and cooling of buildings. This high mass house - 6” of insulation sandwiched between 2 3” layers of concrete structure and 12” of contained water on the roof used the thermal absorption and release capabilities of water to attain comfort. The house structural elements are in fact the heating and cooling system and replace conventional ductwork, plenums, and mechanical heating and cooling systems. 

Winter heating is achieved by exposing the roof ponds to the daytime sun then covering them at night with movable insulation. The warmed ponds transfer their heat through standard metal construction decking ceilings which act as a radiator. Summer conditions use an opposite action - Ponds are covered during the day thereby staying cool and act as a thermal “sponge” absorbing undesired heat from within the building and hold it until the evening where it is disposed of through night sky radiation, air movement convection, and evaporation by means of gently misting the water bags. Panels are moved by a 1/3 hp motor which runs for about 3 minutes during the opening and closing process.

The building embodies other dessert strategies such as rough textured walls, recessed window and door openings, cross ventilation; an energy efficient Rumford fireplace design; low resource fixtures and equipment, and a solar water heater.


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exterior

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diagrams - summer, winter


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roof pond open, closed


#  6 Mom’s Place - Scottsdale, Arizona

A compact residence with cool and warm courts, high thermal mass insulated on the exterior, structure. Direct gain for wintertime heating and high mass thermal “sponge” walls with cross ventilation and resource efficient equipment for cooling, this residence incorporates a 2 story interior thermal volume and clerestorey windows at the second floor to vent unwanted heat.

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exterior exterior cool court exterior interior

# 7 APS Environmental Showcase Home (ASU Environmental House)

A demonstration of a variety of Green, energy efficient and solar applications, the building’s Living With the Sun attributes include proper orientation, thermal mass, careful placement and sizing of glazing, clerestorey window incorporation for natural lighting, cross ventilation, direct gain south windows, cool court and warm court integration, landscaping and site amenities, energy and resource efficient fixtures and equipment, “green” materials and finishes, and solar applications of a photovoltaic panel and a solar water heater.

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exterior day, exterior - night

# 8 Straw Bale Residence - Tempe, Arizona

This compact , energy efficient structure is the first straw bale construction in Tempe. The highly insulating walls of mud plastered straw bale load bearing walls, coupled with the thermal mass of the stone fireplace and exposed concrete floors provide a condition where a minimum of mechanical energy is required for heating or cooling. The barrier of the walls prevent heat flow from or to the outside, and the thermal mass retains both warmth and “coolth” to maintain comfort with only a 3 degree temperature swing during the day. High insulative values of the walls and the roof (r-50+) mitigate the flow of heat and assure a stable environment which results in less mechanical cooling and heating operations.

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exteriors - straw bale structure with mud plaster finish

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interiors - direct gain south windows and finished concrete floor thermal mass

thermal mass stone
fireplace.


# 9 Garrett Residence - Scottsdale, Arizona

This passive and active systems residence has functioned through 20 years of Arizona dessert summers and winters. Combining passive solar techniques of solar orientation, elongated building form along the west/east axis, earth integration (a below grade living space), thermal mass, thermal screening, indigenous landscape for summer heat mitigation, and cross ventilation, with active solar systems for hot water heating, photovoltaic electric generation to power elements of the house and yard lights, solar pool heating the house also contains energy efficient appliances and fixtures.

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south exteriors showing PV panels and earth integrated wing

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exterior sunscreen and court PV panels PV panels

(top)

Arizona is a land of extremes and variation. Arizonans have adapted to, and adopted the natural conditions and resources of Arizona sites and climate to create habitations that are energy efficient and resource appropriate. Throughout Arizona there are a variety of actions that have been and are continuing to be taken by Arizonans who are incorporating the elements of nature - the sun, wind, earth, and water, simply and directly to meet their needs. These actions are the basis of Living With the Sun - Arizona Style.

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This presentation was constructed by the Arizona Solar Energy Association for the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. under contract with the Arizona Dept. of Commerce Energy Office, funded by the Dept. of Energy Million Solar Roofs program. Materials and information were provided by a number of sources.


Financial support for this presentation has been provided by the Arizona Department of Commerce (Energy Office) and the U.S. Department of Energy through (DOE) Grant No. DE-FG51-01R021250. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Energy Office or U.S. DOE. The State of Arizona and U.S. DOE assume no liability for damages arising from errors, omissions or representations contained in this presentation.

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Living with the Sun - Arizona Style

Arizona is a land of physical and climatic diversity -

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from the San Francisco Peaks to the Sonoran desert, Arizonans past and present have adapted to this land of diversity and often to conditions of climatic intensity. The heat of the desert summer sun and the cold of a mountain winter have had direct impact on the form and shape of our buildings, and the patterns of our behavior.

Living with the sun is the characteristic of a truly Arizona architecture, not rooted in national stylistic trends but in environmental conditions, local resources and climatic appropriateness. Living with the Sun - Arizona Style recognizes and uses on-site environmental conditions to meet human needs and comfort. Energy and resource efficient strategies are used to optimize comfort while minimizing environmental resource depletion, and economic waste.

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 04Through time there are examples of Arizonans Living With the Sun.  The early cliff dwelling of Montezuma’s Castle, often romanticized as Arizona’s first solar building, does reflect solar design principles. While clearly not “designed” as a solar building, has passive solar attributes including south orientation; deep “eaves” (cave roof) which shades in the summer and allows low winter sun penetration; and thermal mass (solar heat storing capabilities of the stone building materials.

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Through time, Arizonans have evolved solar strategies in their buildings and their equipment.


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 07Passive solar water heaters were used on buildings like the historic Ellis-Shackleford house and the historic Tempe Bakery, and both public and private desert buildings responded to the need for shade and cross ventilation. The Yuma Hotel had windows down to the floor and balconies so beds could be pushed outside for a cool night sleep environment. Phoenix hotels had large sleeping porches where rolls of burlap were unfurled and wet down to gain an evaporative cooling effect.

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Houses were constructed with proper orientations - broad side with windows to capture the winter sun’s warmth, and with overhangs that controlled direct impact from the high summer sun.


The narrow sides of buildings were oriented to minimize exposure to the intense summer east and west sun. The cooking porch, and even a separate cooking ramada (an idea borrowed from Arizona’s native American and Hispanic population) were often provided to “keep the kitchen heat out of the house in the summer”. Materials were masonry and adobe, which provided both thermal mass in conditions where heat retention was a benefit, and a thermal barrier where heat was desired to be excluded.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 10 Arizona history is replete with solar applications. During the Indian Wars, the heliograph was used as a communication device.

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 11The Aeneas solar pump was installed to irrigate the agricultural lands where Tempe now stands, and Arizona ranch houses in northern part of the State incorporated large porches, open and screened, as cool places for evening use as well as sleeping.

Living With the Sun - Arizona Style continues today -

 

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 12In every corner of Arizona there are solar and green buildings. Some constructed twenty years ago, continue to function just fine today. Newer buildings, incorporating current knowledge of passive building design integrated with effective solar equipment of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels, continue to appear.

Groupings of solar buildings, as in the Civano subdivision and the Milagro co-housing projects in Tucson, are appearing, and the variety of solar strategies used provide a growing richness in solar building form and shape and architectural language. 

Today, Living With the Sun - Arizona Style can be seen in numerous solar buildings throughout the State every October during the annual tour of solar buildings put on by the Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA) in conjunction with the American Society of Solar Energy’s (ASES) National Tour of Solar buildings. The Arizona Solar Energy Association, a Chapter of ASES, in association with the Arizona Solar Center, mounts and sponsors local tours on consecutive weekends at different locations around the State throughout the month and solar home owners open their doors to the public and share their experiences.

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  • The following is a compilation of solar, renewable energy, and green buildings that demonstrate Arizona’s rich and varied use of the sun - Living With the Sun - Arizona Style


TAYLOR/SNOWFLAKE AREA

(top)

The high desert area of Taylor provides its residents with clear, cold winters, sunny summers, and flat areas where the winds blow. Low vegetation mixed with Arizona independence have resulted in a number of Living With the Sun variations, within the community’s mix of historic and contemporary buildings.


# 1 Residence - Taylor Arizona

A passive solar heated building utilizing south face direct solar gain, south side living spaces, thermal mass walls and floor. Cooling is by virtue of the thick thermal walls, effective cross ventilation and a centrally located, operable oculus window at the top of the building. Solar equipment includes energy efficient lighting and resource conserving fixtures and a ground mounted batch water heater

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exterior - south side; south side with solar hot water heater


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interior - direct gain and thermal mass floors


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interior stair case


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operable venting oculus above stairs interior mass wall decor

# 2 Earthship Residence - Taylor Arizona

This Earthship building, utilizing interlaced tires packed with earth for both structure as well as thermal mass, is heavily integrated with the earth on its north side and has thermal mass walls and floors. Full glazing on the south to allows for passive direct solar gain for heating and the thermal mass structure retains gained heat and releases it back to the spaces to maintain a comfortable setting. Recycled materials and the earth of the site provide effective thermal mass as both a barrier to intense cold as well as summer heat, and a wonderful medium for solar heating system. Recycled materials also are used in the buildings’ decorative courtyard walls.  Renewable energy equipment include solar water heating system, wind generator, and photovoltaic panels

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earth and tire integration


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south facade solar windows


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entry court

entry with direct gain heating and thermal mass floors


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interiors - south side - circulation with direct gain solar windows and thermal mass floor


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interior - thermal mass partition wall, floor

access to built in solar oven at South facing wall


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exterior wing wall and decorative patio wall with recycled containers


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close-up of recycled containers decorative wall


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direct gain south glazing wall with wind generator in background


# 3 Residence - Taylor Arizona

(top)

Backed into a south facing slope, this building opens itself to the south sun for passive system direct gain heating using south facing solar windows and thermal mass tile floors and thermal mass walls. The 2 story structure has living spaces oriented to benefit from the winter sun and the building has an air lock entry zone reducing the negative condition of heat loss whenever people come and go. Equipment includes energy and resource efficient fixtures and a batch solar water heater.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 35

exterior - south court, south window wall for direct gain, clerestorey solar windows, solar water heater


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 36

interior - solar window, floor tile thermal mass


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 37

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 38

interior - south facing solar windows for direct gain

batch water heater


# 4 Kerr Residence - Taylor Arizona

(slides) pending 

A simple thermal mass structure with south facing windows for direct solar gain and the inclusion of a solar green space for both plant production as well as for heat, and built in solar ovens on the south face of the kitchen. Barbara Kerr is a long time common-sense solar and resource conserving advocate and is internationally known for her work in solar cooking and resource independence. The structure is the headquarters for an institute which teaches people from around the globe the ease and wisdom of Living With the Sun.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 39

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 40

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 41

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 42

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 43


# 4 Greenhouses - Snowflake/Taylor Arizona

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 44 Numerous houses in this part of the state incorporate solar greenhouses to existing building for both heating as well as vegetation. These attached green spaces are simple and cost effective, mounted on the south side of houses. These attached greenhouses are a combination of the Direct and Indirect Gain methods of heating. The sunspace is heated directly and the gathered heat can be allowed to transfer into other parts of the building by the operation of existing doors and windows in the building’s primary south wall. these can be opened or closed to control and moderate the heat from the greenhouse to the living spaces.


SEDONA/VERDE VALLEY AREA

(top)

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 45

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 46

Even the Sedona park department incorporates solar into their equipment and community life. Park and kiosk lighting is powered by photovoltaic installations which are effective, inexpensive, stable, sturdy and safe - especially in an environmentally conscious community like Sedona.


# 1 - Charles & Mary’s Place

A passive solar house, functioning very well since its construction over 20 years ago, the passive heating system is thermal mass with direct solar gain windows on the south side, and penetrated interior walls to allow for deep penetration of the sun’s rays and circulation of captured south side heat. The south side sunspace, a narrow space backed with Kalwall thermal water tubes define the direct sun catching area from the rest of the house and add color as a decorative element. Nestled into the terrain on the north, the north side of the building is earth integrated with earth up to the window sills. Clerestorey windows and cross ventilation coupled with the thermal mass of the building provide for the cooling in Sedona summers. Efficient equipment include a pellet fireplace unit, and energy and resource efficient fixtures. Solar equipment includes 2 batch water heaters which have fully met their needs.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 47

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 48

entry art

Charles & Mary


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 49LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 50

exteriors South face - direct gain windows, direct gain clerestorey


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 51

exterior - east facade - showing building backed into slope, pitched roof line for maximum solar penetration through the building and low profile from northerly storms.


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 52

north side earth integration - earth to bottom of window sill


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 53

interior - north window - with at earth integration, thermal shades and drapes


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interior - Clerestorey windows for interior direct gain


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 55

direct gain sunspace with south facing windows and thermal mass floor


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 56

thermal mass thermal tubes between sunspace and dining area


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 57

tandem batch water heaters


# 2 Searle Residence - Sedona, Arizona

A passive solar heated house utilizing thermal mass, direct gain and indirect gain, and a isolated gain green space. South facing windows coupled with clerestorey windows to allow for deeper penetration of the sun’s rays, as well as the illumination benefits of sunlight. Solar penetration impacts thermal mass in the floors and walls and the building structure absorbs warmth and reradiates it at a later time as the spaces cool in the nights. Eaves are calculated for best protection from summer conditions and optimum access to the low winter sun. One section of the building eave has designed-in retractable eaves to allow more access of the winter sun radiation. Space planning places living spaces on the south side and secondary spaces on the north. additional north side buffering comes from a raised planter against the north side. Cooling is attained by the natural attributes of the structure’s thermal mass, effective cross ventilation design, and the operable clerestorey windows. Designed with energy conserving strategies including exterior trellises, as well as surrounding vegetation which creates a zone of coolness. Equipment includes a solar water heater, energy and resource efficient fixtures and an energy efficient fireplace.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 58

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 59

exterior - south elevation

north side berming


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 60

interior - south facing direct gain windows - kitchen, dining area


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 61

interior - direct gain clerestorey windows with operable insulating panels - to keep captured heat in during cold winter nights


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 62

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 63

interior - thermal window with custom, decorative insulating shutters for heat retention


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 64

direct gain south face windows


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 65

calculated overhangs with “retractable section”


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 66

sunspace - a direct gain area of the house which can be sealed off or opened up to the rest of the residence, thereby allowing for the use as a greenhouse and/or as a heat collection area which can share its bounty if door and vents are opened


# 3 - Radoccia Complex Verde Valley

A complex of buildings, grown over time, this facility houses a variety of structures and activities. Heating is passive direct solar gain with glazing on the south face coupled with structural thermal mass of the building’s materials. Cooling is by virtue of the inherent capabilities of the thermal mall of the structure, cross ventilation, and effective landscape planning and incorporation. This system provides for a comfortable environment whether it is the living quarters or working areas of the complex. Power generation is by means of several appropriately sited photovoltaic arrays adjacent to the facility they serve. Power for the water tank that sits on the upper hill, power for the residence, power for the guest facility and power for the owner’s business are located adjacent and meet all demands.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 67

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 68

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 69

exterior views, with PV panel, exterior - south facing windows for direct solar gain,


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 70

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 71

interiors - south direct gain heating from sunlight, and thermal mass floors and/or walls


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 72

solar cooker and solar cat - both benefiting from the sun’s energy


# 4 Joe’s Place Verde Valley

Built in the time of the energy and environmental crises, this house has withstood the test of time and done it efficiently and comfortably. Direct gain solar heating coupled with thermal mass walls and floors continue to attain warm comfort, and effective thermal mass coupled with cross ventilation provide for cooling needs. Thermal mass materials, orientation, and a vertical stacking with venting windows capture prevailing breezes or cooler air adjacent to the house and vent out warmer interior air through upper windows.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 73

exterior


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 74

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 75

interior - direct gain space with thermal mass floors and walls


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interior - thermal mass fireplace


# 5 Sarah’s Place Verde Valley

A newly built residence, this simple structure integrates direct solar gain and thermal mass walls and floor to provide heat comfort for the occupants. Simple spaces, south facing windows, minimization of east and west exposures, and strong mitigation of north side winter heat loss by means of a recessed entry and entry hall add to the efficiencies of this building.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 77

exterior north side


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exterior - south side with direct gain solar and clerestorey windows


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 82

interior - thermal mass wall and deep light penetration from clerestorey solar windows


# 6 Solar Equipment - Sedona and Verde Valley Installations

Sedona and the Verde Valley have numerous installations of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels. A variety of houses, in a variety of income levels incorporate this equipment as a part of the building’s energy strategy. While some of the water systems are old they are still functioning and meeting the needs of the residents.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 83

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 84

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 85

variety of solar hot water and PV installations


# 7 Residence - Cornville, Arizona

An owner built energy efficient wood frame structure, the living spaced are stacked above a large large rock bin within a highly insulated enclosure directly beneath the living spaces. The bin contains a large water tank surrounded by rocks and 2 plenums (ducts). Water, heated at roof top solar collectors, is circulated to the tank which in turn heats the rocks surrounding it . Over the course of the day, constant circulation heats both the tank water and the rocks. When heating is required, floor vents at the bottom most living space are opened and heated air rises from the bin and up through the house. Through “cool side” vents, cooler house air settles into the bin, is heated and rises and repeats the process in a natural convective loop. Hot air rises - cool air settles.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 86

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 87

exteriors - compact vertical form , angular shape to facilitate air movement


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 89

rock bin

solar water heaters at building roof


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 91

interior


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 92

movable insulation at building windows to prevent heat loss


PAYSON

(top)

# 1 Residence Payson Az.

A custom solar and low resource consuming home integrated into the site, with south facing “clearview” collector windows, thermal mass, earth integration and berming, and extensive cross ventilation for cooling. The Clearview collector system is a double window system which contain an operable blind system and interior vents (low and high) to the living spaces. The system allows for direct solar gain into the living spaces by simple raising of the blinds, letting sunlight in to impact the internal thermal mass of the spaces. For more control as well as some direct mitigation of the impact of direct solar gain, the operable blinds are 2 colors - one side dark, the other white.. When heating is desired, the blinds are turned so the dark side faces outward and acts as a mini- collector system, heating the air in the double wall window cavity. Warm air is introduced into the space by a operable vent at the top of the window system and replacement air is introduced at the vent at the bottom of the window system. The circulation is natural convection with warmed air being expelled into the living space, and cool air being drawn in from the living space.. When protection is required to keep the spaces cool, the light side of the blinds are turned to face outward (reflecting unwanted solar light) and excess heat is vented to the outside.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 93

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 94

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 95

exterior - south wall glazing, clearview collector


PRESCOTT AREA

(top)

The Prescott area is a place where people have settled for the environmental and climatic benefits of Arizona. Scattered throughout the area are wonderful building and homes incorporating natural systems and solar design for heating of buildings, and incorporating solar equipment of water heaters and photovoltaic panels for off grid production of electricity. Buildings vary from small experimental structures to banks and medical complexes, and range from new to old.


# 1 Residence - Prescott, Arizona

A compilation of a variety of construction materials and systems from straw bale to adobe used in various forms, this house is located within a heavily vegetated area that precludes simple direct gain approach to high country solar heating. The building concentrates on energy conserving strategies of energy efficient walls to prevent heat flow (either outward or inward); incorporation of thermal mass for both a heat and cool storage; a compact form with spaces stacked upon each other; shading for cooling; cross ventilation; and resource conserving equipment and fixtures. Solar equipment is mounted on the roof of the two storey structure in order to have unimpeded access to the sun and includes both photovoltaic panels for electricity production as well as solar water heating.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 96

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 97

exterior - south side

exterior - roof with solar panels


# 2 - Buddhist Complex Prescott Valley

A Buddhist temple and learning center, this facility is totally off-grid and generates its’ own power through an array of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof of the structure which houses its equipment and storage batteries.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 98

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 99

collector array on electrical building with one of the temple buildings in the background


# 3 - Wolfberry Farm Prescott Valley

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 100This experimental farm of Prescott College is looking into the agricultural benefits and possibilities of indigenous crops like the wolfberry. The farm contains a student built straw bale structure with a photovoltaic installation and experimental solar crop dryers. The students prepare their food by means of a variety of home-made and commercial solar cookers. For more information regarding the Wolfberry Farm Project, contact Prescott College.


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 101

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 102

straw bale farm structure

solar crop dryer structure - with south facing glazing.


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 104

various solar cookers


# 4 - Medical Building - Prescott, Arizona

A professional medical building with some passive solar heating elements including direct gain enclosed entry terrariums, direct gain windows and thermal mass for heating. and Kalwall thermal skylights with movable insulation.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 105


# 5 - Professional Building - Prescott, Arizona

A professional building incorporating a Trombe wall for heating. The system, invented by Frenchman Felix Trombe, is simply a dark masonry wall with upper and lower vents to the building interior, and faced (4-6” away) by windows. Sunlight streams through the glass, strikes the dark masonry wall and heat the air in the space. Heated air rises and vents into the adjacent space through upper wall openings and cooler replacement air is drawn into the space through lower wall vents. Circulation is by natural convection.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 106

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 107

exterior

exterior showing Trombe wall


# 6 Ben’s Place Prescott Valley

A residence that combines both passive and active systems, this multi-level home incorporates south facing direct solar gain and clerestory windows with thermal mass walls and floors for heating; penetrated interior walls for letting sunlight into deeper interiors; stacking of spaces to have more south room exposure; cross ventilation coupled with thermal mass for cooling; and integration of active systems equipment of photovoltaics for power generation and solar water heating system for hot water.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 108

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 109

exterior - south face with direct gain glazing


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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 111

interior - windows and thermal mass

interior - sunlight and thermal mass interior wall which allows penetration of sunlight from clerestorey window deeper into the building


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 112Direct gain window wall and thermal mass floor and walls. Vertical water heater in front of soaking tub made from a drinking trough.

# 7 Residence - Prescott Valley

Another passive/active combination solar house - Direct gain south windows and building structure thermal mass of cast earth with photovoltaic panels incorporated at the building’s southern roof overhang section. A thermosiphoning passive water heater system is located down slope of the residence and provides solar heated water to the residence.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 113

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 114

exterior - south facing direct gain glazing; thermosiphon water heater

interior - high window direct solar gain (heating) and ventilating (cooling)


FLAGSTAFF

(top)

# 1 Residence - Flagstaff Arizona

A direct gain, thermal mass residence providing sufficient heating for this residence.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 115

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 116

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 117

exterior - south elevation with direct gain windows

exterior - direct gain solar windows

interior - direct gain solar windows, thermal mass floors


# 2 Residence Flagstaff, Arizona

An energy efficient residence with photovoltaic panels and wind generator for electricity generation.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 118

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 119

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 120

exterior

photovoltaic array

wind generator


TUCSON

(top)

The “Old Pueblo” is replete with solar activity and buildings. The annual Solar Potluck put on by Citizens for Solar; the Civano development - a major step in providing solar and resource housing in southern Arizona; the Armory Park infill project, and the annual Tour of Innovative Homes and annual Hot Topics/Cool Solutions conference are all examples of a commitment to Living With the Sun- Arizona Style.


# 1 Straw Bale Residence - Tucson, Arizona

This energy efficient straw bale residence responds to the intense dessert heat in its compact form and highly insulating building material, coupled with the thermal mass floors which assist in keeping the living environment cool in an efficient manner when coupled with high efficiency, low energy equipment and early/late season cross ventilation. Reflective white roof and light building color adds to the energy efficient attributes of the building. Residence has a permanent solar oven installed as a basic feature of the houses’ Living With the Sun approach.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 121

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 122

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 123

exterior

solar oven

exterior - south face


# 2 Sonora Co-Housing Project - Tucson Arizona

This multi family project uses orientation, careful location and sizing of windows for optimum mitigation of undesirable summer conditions. The Straw Bale Common House contains a 2 kw grid tied photovoltaic system and will be incorporating solar hot water heaters. The lush xeriscaped landscaping with permaculture strategies provides for environmental tempering.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 124 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 125 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 126 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 127

# 3 Armory Park Development - Tucson, Arizona

Part of an infill project in Tucson’s historic Armory Park area, this residence incorporates passive solar dessert design features of orientation, thermal mass walls and floors, careful consideration of location and sizing of windows, cross ventilation, and incorporation of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels for electricity generation, into a form that emulates the historic character of the district.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 132 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 133 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 134 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 135

# 4 Civano - Tucson, Arizona

One of the first solar and environmental subdivisions in Arizona, Civano shows that good solar, environmental and natural resource design and construction can be successful in the open market. Homes range in construction from earthen materials like adobe to contemporary, energy efficient C.I.Ps. All must meet Civano energy and resource standards which are some of the most stringent in the country. The variety of design, materials, construction, passive and active solar applications, natural heating/cooling systems and highly efficient mechanical systems, and resource conserving elements of efficient water utilization and desert appropriate landscaping practices reflect the Living With the Sun - Arizona Style success.

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 137

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 138

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 139

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 141


# 5 Weiner Residence - Tucson Mountain Foothills

Earthen materials with environmental common sense, this high insulation (r-30 walls, r-50 roof), this high thermal mass, earth integrated rammed earth residence as solar assisted hydronic heating. Recycled materials for interior framing integrate with environmentally tempering porches, natural ventilation, radiant barriers and permaculture strategies to provide summertime comfort.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 142 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 143 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 144 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 145

# 6 Joy Design Studio - Tucson, Arizona

Designed to fit in with the neighborhood, this contemporary architectural studio of exposed rammed earth walls and weathered steel materials, enclosed courtyard encompasses passive design strategies of high thermal mass, high insulation, and appropriately placed windows.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 146 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 147 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 148

# 7 Wuelpern Residence -Tucson, Arizona

A classical territorial barrior design, this building incorporates a lush interior court, and recycled materials for structure and building elements, into a rammed earth structure which is the thermal mass component of the natural cooling system of the courtyard and cross ventilation design. High performance mechanical cooling system is available, and a radiant floor heating is incorporated.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 149

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 150


VALLEY OF THE SUN

(top)

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 151

The Valley of the sun is impacted with intense summer sun and benign winter conditions. Strategies for dealing with intense summer heat and mild winter conditions range from integrating into the earth to roof ponds. Combinations of thermal exclusion coupled with daylighting and viewing inclusion result in a variety of Living With the Sun expressions of form and shape.


# 1 Arizona National Guard Eco-Building Phoenix, Arizona

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 152The building is burrowed into the site to gain as much of the thermal benefit and barrier to heat as the earth can provide. This “Earthship” construction is of interlaced tires filled with compacted earth, plastered on the inside and out, providing very thick and dense walls which act as a barrier to unwanted summertime heat. A central landscaped atrium provides natural light and a cool outdoor environment to all the interior spaces, and an earth integrated cool tube system provides earth tempered air to the mechanical cooling systems. Active solar systems include photovoltaic panels for electricity generation, and solar water heaters. These systems, coupled with high efficiency, low resource demand equipment and fixtures, provide for the needs of the facility.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 153

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 154

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 155

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 156

exterior showing earth integration, berming, and photovoltaic panels

construction of tire/earth wall system

interior of tire/earth wall prior to plastering.

photovoltaic panel system integrated into building roof structure


# 2 Edwards Residence Scottsdale, Arizona

This dessert straw bale residence is part of the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program. Living With the Sun strategies include orientation, highly insulated building shell (straw bale construction, highly insulated roof, energy efficient windows, shelf shading structure ( window shading wing walls), thermal mass plenum floors for heating and cooling, a cool tower (gravity driven evaporative cooling system), and cross ventilation cooling. Heating is achieved by direct gain south windows, floor thermal mass and an energy efficient fireplace.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 157

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 158

exterior - South elevation showing direct gain windows, sun control wing walls and cool tower


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 159

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 160

demonstration straw bale

indirect gain windows, thermal mass floor, straw bale walls


# 3 Cosanti Scottsdale, Arizona

The Cosanti Foundation’s location and demonstration of Paolo Soleri’s vision and applications for Living With the Sun. Earth integration, whole site planning, vegetation and shading, cool courts and warm courts, thermal mass as both barrier and heater, and direct gain applications.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 162 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 163
earth integrated shell structure with indigenous landscaping

earth integrated shell structure


# 4 Tierra Y Sol - Fountain Hills, Arizona

This compact, energy efficient, solar residence backs into a north facing slope and capitalizes on the inherent coolness of the earth and the down slope fall of cool summer evening air, as well as thermal mass walls with insulation on the exterior; terraced space planning to allow falling cooled air to cascade downward through the structure; thermal chimney effect of a raised central spine which also provides natural light at the building core; cool court and warm court integration; cross ventilation; and solar water heating.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 164 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 165 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 166
exterior exterior showing exterior insulation and integrated solar collectors exterior - south side

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interior - living area on cool (down slope side of house) interior - thermal vent and cross ventilation core

# 5 Roof Pond House - Phoenix, Arizona

Built over 20 years ago, this house was the basis for a Department of Energy demonstration of the applicability of roof ponds for heating and cooling of buildings. This high mass house - 6” of insulation sandwiched between 2 3” layers of concrete structure and 12” of contained water on the roof used the thermal absorption and release capabilities of water to attain comfort. The house structural elements are in fact the heating and cooling system and replace conventional ductwork, plenums, and mechanical heating and cooling systems. 

Winter heating is achieved by exposing the roof ponds to the daytime sun then covering them at night with movable insulation. The warmed ponds transfer their heat through standard metal construction decking ceilings which act as a radiator. Summer conditions use an opposite action - Ponds are covered during the day thereby staying cool and act as a thermal “sponge” absorbing undesired heat from within the building and hold it until the evening where it is disposed of through night sky radiation, air movement convection, and evaporation by means of gently misting the water bags. Panels are moved by a 1/3 hp motor which runs for about 3 minutes during the opening and closing process.

The building embodies other dessert strategies such as rough textured walls, recessed window and door openings, cross ventilation; an energy efficient Rumford fireplace design; low resource fixtures and equipment, and a solar water heater.


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 170
exterior

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 171

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 172

diagrams - summer, winter


LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 173

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 174

roof pond open, closed


#  6 Mom’s Place - Scottsdale, Arizona

A compact residence with cool and warm courts, high thermal mass insulated on the exterior, structure. Direct gain for wintertime heating and high mass thermal “sponge” walls with cross ventilation and resource efficient equipment for cooling, this residence incorporates a 2 story interior thermal volume and clerestorey windows at the second floor to vent unwanted heat.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 175

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 176

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 177 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 178 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 179
exterior exterior cool court exterior interior

# 7 APS Environmental Showcase Home (ASU Environmental House)

A demonstration of a variety of Green, energy efficient and solar applications, the building’s Living With the Sun attributes include proper orientation, thermal mass, careful placement and sizing of glazing, clerestorey window incorporation for natural lighting, cross ventilation, direct gain south windows, cool court and warm court integration, landscaping and site amenities, energy and resource efficient fixtures and equipment, “green” materials and finishes, and solar applications of a photovoltaic panel and a solar water heater.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 180 LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 181
exterior day, exterior - night

# 8 Straw Bale Residence - Tempe, Arizona

This compact , energy efficient structure is the first straw bale construction in Tempe. The highly insulating walls of mud plastered straw bale load bearing walls, coupled with the thermal mass of the stone fireplace and exposed concrete floors provide a condition where a minimum of mechanical energy is required for heating or cooling. The barrier of the walls prevent heat flow from or to the outside, and the thermal mass retains both warmth and “coolth” to maintain comfort with only a 3 degree temperature swing during the day. High insulative values of the walls and the roof (r-50+) mitigate the flow of heat and assure a stable environment which results in less mechanical cooling and heating operations.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 182

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 183

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 184

exteriors - straw bale structure with mud plaster finish

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 185

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 186

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 187

interiors - direct gain south windows and finished concrete floor thermal mass

thermal mass stone
fireplace.


# 9 Garrett Residence - Scottsdale, Arizona

This passive and active systems residence has functioned through 20 years of Arizona dessert summers and winters. Combining passive solar techniques of solar orientation, elongated building form along the west/east axis, earth integration (a below grade living space), thermal mass, thermal screening, indigenous landscape for summer heat mitigation, and cross ventilation, with active solar systems for hot water heating, photovoltaic electric generation to power elements of the house and yard lights, solar pool heating the house also contains energy efficient appliances and fixtures.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 188

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 189

south exteriors showing PV panels and earth integrated wing

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LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 191

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 192

exterior sunscreen and court PV panels PV panels

(top)

Arizona is a land of extremes and variation. Arizonans have adapted to, and adopted the natural conditions and resources of Arizona sites and climate to create habitations that are energy efficient and resource appropriate. Throughout Arizona there are a variety of actions that have been and are continuing to be taken by Arizonans who are incorporating the elements of nature - the sun, wind, earth, and water, simply and directly to meet their needs. These actions are the basis of Living With the Sun - Arizona Style.

LIVING WITH the SUN - IMAGE 193


This presentation was constructed by the Arizona Solar Energy Association for the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. under contract with the Arizona Dept. of Commerce Energy Office, funded by the Dept. of Energy Million Solar Roofs program. Materials and information were provided by a number of sources.


Financial support for this presentation has been provided by the Arizona Department of Commerce (Energy Office) and the U.S. Department of Energy through (DOE) Grant No. DE-FG51-01R021250. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Energy Office or U.S. DOE. The State of Arizona and U.S. DOE assume no liability for damages arising from errors, omissions or representations contained in this presentation.

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Virtual Tours (Galleries)

The Vision of a Solar Arizona

An Arizona Virtual Solar Tour compiled by AZ Dept. of Commerce - Energy Office


Living with the Sun - Arizona Style

(links to Technology & Science Section)

See examples of Arizonan's living with the sun.
193 images on this virtual tour.


Wind Turbines

Wind Energy

(Photos by Martin J. Pasqualetti, unless noted otherwise)

21 images in set.


Passive, Trombe Wall, Photovoltaic and More

(Photos by Martin J. Pasqualetti, unless noted otherwise)

12 images in set.


Arizona Resource Maps - Wind, PV, Collocated Geothermal, Concentrating Solar Power, Biomass

(courtesy Tom Acker)

10 images in set.


Pool Pump, Tracking Array

(courtesy Lane Garrett)

2 images in set.


Solar Installation

(courtesy Sean Seitz)

6 images in set.


Passive Solar

(courtesy Jim Arwood and Arizona Solar Center)

3 images in set.


Solar and Wind Systems

(courtesy Bill Stein, Fort Huachuca)

5 images in set.


Solar Cooking

(courtesy Barbara Kerr and Sherry Cole)

9 images in set.


Solar Applications in Arizona

Where's the solar? Check out these Arizona facilities that utilize solar energy and solar building design...

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Passive Solar, Trombe Wall, Photovoltaic and more - Gallery

Courtesy, Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti
  • NOTE: Photos obtained from the photo gallery are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to Photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.

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Making adobe bricks near Springerville, Arizona. Adobe provide insulation from intense solar energy in desert environments at low cost.

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An off-grid solar house on the Navajo Reservation, northeastern Arizona. The house was constructed by the local coal company when the original housing structure had to be removed due to mining activity.

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The Dupa House, constructed of adobe in the 19th century, downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

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Photovoltaic arrays adjacent to decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant southeast of Sacramento California. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility District

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Trombe wall house in western Wales, UK. This passive design allows the warming solar energy to strike a stationary high-mass wall inside the south-facing glass. The heated air circulates naturally throughout the house. (See next image)

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Diagram of trombe wall

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Jack pump in the west-Texas oil fields near McCamey. Wind turbines on ridge illustrate a transition from fossil to renewable energy resources.

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Photovoltaic arrays provide electricity to the visitor center at Navajo Bridge National Monument, Utah.

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Diagram of a power town arrangement such as has been constructed near Daggett, California. The individual adjustable mirror assemblies (heliostats) track the sun and focus the energy on a center receiver, producing high temperatures to boil water or other working fluid and generate electricity.

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(This image and next) Concentrating solar troughs at Kramer Junction west of Blythe, California, one of the largest arrays in the US.

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(See description previous image)

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Photovoltaic array used to power communications equipment near Globe. Photo courtesy of Arizona Public Service.


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Wind Power Gallery

Courtesy, Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti; Arizona and US Wind Resource Maps courtesy NREL
  • NOTE: Photos obtained from the photo gallery are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to Photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.

US and Arizona Wind Resource Maps
US Wind Map US Wind resource map US 2003 year end wind power capacity (MW) US 2003 year end wind power capacity (MW) US Wind power class mapUS Wind power class map AZ 50 m wind power map

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Some people find the wind turbines near Palm Springs a perfect backdrop for recreation. Wind turbines near Palm Springs. Some people object to these wind turbines because of the interference with the scenery near Palm Springs. Measures have been taken to reduce such intrusions. Wind turbines near Palm Springs Sunset near Palm Springs

pasq06.jpg (71458 bytes)Wind turbines near Palm Springs

pasq07.jpg (61744 bytes)Clusters of wind turbines near Palm Springs.

pasq08.jpg (63837 bytes)(This slide and next) Wind turbines at Altamont Pass, California, have contributed extra income to local ranchers and reduced the pressure to develop the land for housing.

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pasq10.jpg (67230 bytes)Some people object to these wind turbines because of the interference with the scenery near Palm Springs. Measures have been taken to reduce such intrusions.

pasq11.jpg (57112 bytes)Wind turbines in the unincorporated area of north Palm Springs, with the San Gorgonio Mountains in the background.

pasq12.jpg (37530 bytes) Wind turbines, looking south toward the Salton Trough. The San Jacinto Mountains are on the right.

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Old and new in Altamont Pass, California.

pasq16.jpg (34069 bytes) Hang glider above wind turbine at Livingston, Montana. Courtesy Gordon Britton.

pasq17.jpg (78364 bytes) A disorganized cluster of wind turbines at Tehachapi Pass, California.

2ndset-f.jpg (59109 bytes) Wind tours near Palm Springs service a curious public.

pasq18.jpg (25302 bytes) (This slide and next) A well-designed group of wind turbines at Tehachapi Pass, California.

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Wind Power



Wind turbine


Wind/Solar Electric Array SE of Tucson


Hub of two blade turbines (from NREL Presentation)


Nacelle Cover (from NREL Presentation)


Old and new in Altamont Pass, California - Courtesy, Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti - more images here.

Wind Power Introduction

Like hydropower, wind power has been used for centuries, to lift water, propel boats, grind grain. It is an attractive and non-polluting source for electricity. It has only been since the mid 1980s, however, that wind power has contributed appreciably to our supply of electricity. The largest generating capacity in the world at present is in Germany, although Denmark is targeting wind as the source of half of its electricity in the near future, if public opposition to their visual intrusion can be overcome.

Some of the largest "wind farms" in the world area in California. One, that in San Gorgonio Pass, is about 100 miles west of Arizona, near Palm Springs, California, where about 4000 wind turbines convert wind power into electricity power. The other major installations in the US are similarly located in passes where the winds are concentrated. Without such concentration, the density of wind power is usually too low to generate electricity commercially.

Like many other states, Arizona has long used wind power to pump water on ranches. Nowadays, this is not a major use in Arizona. Indeed, few sites in Arizona are consistently windy enough for commercial development. Only northern Arizona (for example, near Winslow) might be commercially attractive. As yet, no projects of this sort are yet in place.


Wind Energy: State of the Art and Future Trends - NREL presentation

NREL wind presentationView this NREL presentation in on of the following formats:

Learn about:

  • Recent History
  • Wind Turbines Today
  • Economics and Wind Energy Development
  • Future Trends

Wind Resource Maps (AZ and United States)
US 2003 Year End Wind Powre Capacity (MW) US Wind Resources Map US Wind Power Class MapArizona 50m Wind Power


Wind energy becomes cheaper than conventional energy (AP, 10/17/2005)

The Denver Post - Customers of Xcel Energy's Windsource wind energy program soon will have more to brag about than their environmental ethic. Namely, lower bills. Click here for full news story.


APS Wind Integration Study (September 2007)

The final report of the APS Wind Integration Cost Impact Study was produced by Northern Arizona University (NAU), with contributions from EnerNex Corporation, 3TIER, and Arizona Public Service Company (APS). The report is a result of an eight month study to characterize the impacts and costs due to the variability and uncertainty of wind energy associated with integrating wind energy into APS’ utility resources and practices.


Want more information on wind power?

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Geothermal Energy


Geothermal energy is, literally, the heat of the earth. The heat itself derives from radioactive decay beneath the earth's surface and, in certain locations, it is concentrated enough and is close enough to surface waters to be brought to the surface for a variety of purposes. When it is above 150 degrees C (302 F), it is usually considered hot enough to be used to generate electricity as it is in Italy, El Salvador, Mexico, Japan, Iceland, and Indonesia, among other countries. No such operations exist in Arizona, but several power plants are currently in operation just west of Yuma, Arizona in the Imperial Valley of southeastern California. Although some high temperature geothermal resources exist southeast of Phoenix near the now-retired Williams Air Force Base, they have never been deemed economically feasible.

Resources less than 150 degrees C, have wide non-electric applicability. Indeed, the worldwide potential of such temperatures is many times larger than that used to generate electricity. Such temperatures are used in greenhouses, hot baths, onion dehydration, laundries, and even hotel space heating. The capital of Iceland is almost entirely heated with geothermal water. Several heating districts exist in the US, although none are as large as those in Iceland. These include projects in Reno, Klamath Falls, Boise, Susanville, and other locations. The best source of information in the US on such non-electric applications is the Oregon Institute of Technology Geo-Heat Center.

In Arizona, the opportunity to use geothermal water is limited, in part by population distribution, yet at least three locations are well known. These are Buckhorn Baths in Apache Junction, Castle Hot Springs in the Bradshaw Mountains, and Childs on the Verde River. Additionally, the two highest temperature springs in the state are Clifton and Gillard, both in the Clifton-Morenci area of southeastern Arizona. The water temperature at these springs ranges from 158-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though temperatures may exceed 284 degrees Fahrenheit at depth, these two sites are only suitable for low grad steam.

The only types of geothermal energy to be commercially developed are those called "hydrothermal". These include steam, as developed at The Geysers (north of San Francisco), and liquid, as developed in southeastern California. Geothermal energy is also available in several other forms. One of these forms, known as hot-dry rock has attracted some attention in the volcanic areas of the White Mountains, east of Phoenix. In such resource areas, heat is available, but there is insufficient water to conduct the heat to the surface. In some of these cooler climes, geothermal heat pumps might be a sensible application. The Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium maintains a web site with more information.

In summary, major geothermal resources exist near but not in Arizona. The resource that exists in the state has been recognized and, to some degree, explored, but no sites are considered economically commercial at this time. For more information on geothermal power, visit: http://www.geothermal.org/links.html

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