Solar Strategies: How can the sun power your home?

UrbanEden is a fully solar-powered home that uses the principles of proper solar orientation as well as innovative technologies to both passively and actively draw energy from the sun.

Proper Orientation

Good passive solar design relies on the proper orientation of a house based on the changing path of the sun through the sky over the course of a year. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but its angle and intensity changes with the seasons.

In the northern hemisphere, the sun's southern trajectory is higher in the summer sky and lower in the winter sky. In the winter, the south side of a house receives intense solar exposure throughout the day. In the summer, the east and west facades are hit with low morning and afternoon sun, but the building itself can block the higher midday sun. Therefore, in climates that require both heating and cooling, a building that is long and thin, with the long side facing south, maximizes solar exposure in the winter and minimizes it in the summer.  

High-performance glass concentrated on the south side, which can be shaded in the summer,  allows the sun's heat and light to be used most effectively through changing seasons.

Adjustable PV Panels

UrbanEden is powered by a 7.65kW array of photovoltaic panels on an adjustable track system over the roof of the house. The solar panels can be moved out over the deck to provide shading to both the exterior rooms and to the southern wall during the summer. The panels can be retracted in the winter to allow the sun to passively heat and light the home through the southern glass wall.

Triple-Pane Windows

The windows in UrbanEden, including the south-facing glass wall, are of superior construction, protecting the heated or cooled inside air from uncomfortable outside weather conditions, without sacrificing generous views to the outside and the influx of natural light to the inside. Our Intus doors and windows have high performance frames that feature warm edge spacers and superior airtightness, combined with triple glazing, argon gas fills, and two low-E coatings that deliver center of glass values of R-8. This advanced technology saves energy but also increases comfort through exceptional sound insulation and by keeping glass surface temperatures closer to human body temperature, thereby reducing the radiant heat loss that we often perceive as a “draft” coming from a window.