Window Orientation for Passive Solar Homes



A passive solar home can incorporate a variety of design elements to save on energy use. The first, most basic, and most important is window orientation.

In planning a new home for a cold climate in North America, it’s best if the home’s layout is narrow from north to south and wide from east to west. Living spaces should face the sun and storage and utility rooms should line the north wall.

Most windows should be on the south wall. A few, to catch the morning sun, can be on the east wall, but the north and west walls should have as few windows as possible. Why no windows on the west? There’s no sun on western walls until late afternoon. By that time a good solar home is warm enough, particularly in mild weather. The western sun can overheat a home in winter and make it much too hot in summer.

Simple Solar Home Design

Eddy Home,

Lassen County, California

I came across a short video, by Jim Eddy of Lassen County, California. In two minutes, Jim covers all of basics of passive solar window orientation. Take a look: Passive Solar Home Video - Pause the video to check out the floor plan of Jim’s home. You’ll notice that a garage, bathrooms, a laundry, storage areas and a hall line the north wall. A living room, office and bedrooms, and their windows, face the sun. Beyond that, the home is fairly conventional, with standard construction and code-required insulation. A passive solar home like this shouldn’t cost a penny more than a conventional home of the same size.

What are the advantages of a home like this? Well, Jim and his family burn an average of three cords of wood in an air-tight woodstove each year. By my calculations, that’s about a 40% savings over the heat energy used by the average conventional home of the same size, in the same climate. So, the advantages are savings of 40% off your heating bill, year in and year out, at no additional cost.

The Eddy family has lived “off-grid” for more than twenty years. During that time, Jim has experimented with, tinkered with and invented a number of active solar-powered devices. He shares information on his most successful experiments on his web site,

Don Berg, Today's Plans     



  Find more on Pinterest



Yard Barn Plans

Build the perfect little barn for your Backyard. Have a shelter for your lawn tractor and a big storage loft for all of your seasonal stuff. Or, build yourself the perfect backyard studio, workshop or hobby shop. Order inexpensive plans, by architect Don Berg, for practical, flexible, little pole-barns.


Inexpensive, Simple and Flexible Small Pole-Barn Plans and Pole-Frame Garage Plans bu Architect Don Berg

Download Shed, Garage, Small Barn and Workshop Building Plans - Get 100+ Designs, Sises and Layouts for Just $29

100+ Instant Download Building Plans: Garages; Barns; Sheds; Workshops  Get started on your new shed, cabana, barn, garage, car barn, hobby shop, carriage house, workshop or backyard studio right now. With one order for just $29.00 you can download professional construction blueprints for over one hundred different designs.