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8 Energy Efficiency Strategies for Homes in Hot Places

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 5

1.Geothermal or Ground Source Heat Pump (GHP):

A geothermal heat pump can work for heating and cooling.  This system takes the energy from the ground and uses it to cool or heat your space.  Generally, the coefficient of performance for a GHP is 4; meaning it is 400% efficient.  The video below explains the system clearly.  For more information GHPs see this source: International Ground Source Heat Pump Association.  

How a GHP works:

2. PV Panel Sun Shades:

Essentially, instead of shading a window with a typical shade or overhang, use a Photovoltaic (PV) panel to do the shading. This provides a dual benefit: shade and electricity.  Install PV panels where they will not be shaded to take full advantage of the sun and south-facing tilted at angle of your latitude. For example, San Francisco, CA coordinates are 37.8Ëš N, and 122.4Ëš W – N is for latitude and W is longitude.  Thus, a PV panel on a rooftop would face south tilted at 37.8Ëš. 

3. PV Panels on roof:

Without the benefit of shade – placing PV’s on rooftops (where it makes sense because of space requirement and non-shaded area) is a source of electricity generation for your home. 

PV Panels on rooftop
Credit: http://image.made-in-china.com/4f0j00QeBaikurFGpt/3KW-Home-Solar-PV-Generator-System.jpg

4. Windows:

Install High R-Value, low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) windows.  SHGC is a number from 0 to 1 that describes heat transmitted through the window; the lower the number, the lower the heat transmitted.  High R-values are necessary to insulate your home and keep the cool air from escaping! Common examples are double-pane low-e glazed windows.  They are generally the most cost-effective of variety of windows that exist.    

Window Types
Credit: http://tintingorlandofl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/replacement_window_styles.gif

5. Innovative Windows:

SunGuard PVGU[4170]  This is a window that has PV cells integrated into them.  They have low SHGC and a great R-value.  Thus, provides good insulation and low heat transmittance and generates electricity! 

SunGuard PVGU
Credit: http://www.na.en.sunguardglass.com/

6. Evacuated Tube Water Heater:

Install this system is for water heating.  Only downside is that it produces hot water when the sun is out - so not a lot of hot water late at night and in the morning! But it definitely reduces the hot water cost for the washing machines, dishwashers, showers, etc. during the day. 

How an evacuated tube water heater works:

7. Shading:

Try and shade the south-facing windows as much as possible with overhangs/shades.  South side is where sunlight hits the most during the entire day.  You want to avoid having all that sunlight enter the house.

8. Ventilation:

Moving air is another way to cool a space.  Install ceiling or floor fans in places that do not get a lot of airflow.   



Jul 21, 2012 4:31pm
Great article!
Once I have the opportunity to buy our build my own house, I want to implement as much energy efficiency into it like you are suggesting as I can.

Congrats on the feature.
Jul 22, 2012 8:02pm
Congrats on the feature.
Jul 23, 2012 12:58pm
I put solar panels last year and for only one year i can see that return of investment is very big so now i am thinking of putting PV for producing electricity.
Jul 25, 2012 4:05pm
Great Article

I have personally done a lot of research on these topics for my own potential house at somepoint in the future and its amazing how many option are out there.

I was curious if you know about using thermal mass and Trombe walls to provide passive heat and cooling to your home depending on the season.

Let me know

Jul 28, 2012 9:40am
Trombe Walls are great for cooler climates where you want to store heat from the sun and release it during the night. Also, trombe walls are fairly simple (can be a wall made of concrete blocks painted black on the outside). They should usually face south to get all the direct sunlight and store more energy. Unfortunately, I don't think trombe walls are great for hot climates. Unless, we could get rid of the stored energy the trombe wall accumulates during the day. But that energy is generally dissipated into the space (your home).
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  1. "SunGuard PVGU." Guardian SunGuard. 24/06/2012 <Web >

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