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An envelope of air around this house keeps it cool in summer, warm in winter.

An envelope of air around this house keeps it cool in summer, warm in winter

"We get plenty of cool days here in thePacific Northwest, but real extremes of heat and cold are rare. In our climate, we can use simple but well-engineered building designs and techniques to let natural forces keep the house at a comfortable temperature.' On this premise, Seattle architect Vern Cooley set out to design an attractive, energy-efficient house.

The drawings give a quick view of how the1,920-square-foot house works. It's essentially a box with a double-walled shell. With a between-walls air blanket around them, the interior spaces are doubly insulated (R-38 in roof and ceilings, R-26 in side walls). The envelope of air is warmed or cooled in relation to the weather outside. For fire safety, the envelope is equipped with heat-activated fire dampers that can close off the loop.

Double glazing and weatherstrippingminimize heat loss. And an air-lock entry blocks cold air that enters through the front door.

Since warm air rises, Cooley put themost-used living spaces on the top floor. Bedrooms are lower and cooler, as is a study (which can quickly be warmed with an auxiliary electrical unit).

On cool days, insulated louvers on theroof of a large upper-level sunroom are opened, shades on the sunroom's windows are raised, and outside doors are shut. The winter sun's law rays reach through the sunroom and through large windows in the adjacent living room to fall on as much as 80 percent of the upper level's aggregate-concrete floor. As the sun goes down, the house becomes a heat trap (see bottom drawing on page 94).

When the house gets too warm, the louversand shades are closed. At the same time, a damper on a cool-air conduit in the crawl space beneath the house is opened, as are attic vents. Cool air enters at the bottom of the house, and hot air exhausts out the top. Opening windows and doors around the house increases ventilation.


Solar radiation bounces offinsulated louvers. Damper on cool-air conduit in crawl space opens. Warm air rises through building, goes out attic vents


With shades up and louversopen, solar radiation can enter; heat is stored in concrete floor. Warmed air from sunrooms rises into attic, pulling up cool air from crawl space


With shades and louversdown and windows closed, sunrooms trap heat. Heat-storing floor slowly releases its warmth. On coldest days, earth under house contributes warmth

Photo: North-facing house front is as nearsidewalk as code permits--distancing south wall from rear property line for maximum solar exposure. Solid wall cuts heat loss

Photo: Saltbox shape accommodates angledexpanses of sun-catching glass on south side. Tree species will stay petite-- sheltering terrace, but not shading house

Photo: Insulated louvers in sunroom rooflet in solar heat when open, trap or reflect heat when closed. Custom system with bicycle gears and chains makes it easy to switch

Photo: In winter, windows admitwarm air from sunroom; woodstove also heats living space. Concrete floor traps heat. Overhead fan moves air around top story
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1987
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