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Solar Houses Improve Both Environment and Lifestyle

Solar houses constitute one of the hottest topics in both the architecture and green energy world today. These houses, often referred to as passive solar houses, utilize the sun’s energy in a variety of ways to make the home energy efficient and reduce its impact on the environment.

The majority of solar houses are carbon neutral, which means that they produce zero carbon emissions. There are many different types of solar energy utilized in these homes including photovoltaic solar panels, and also solar thermal collectors for heating the home and water. Even the windows are designed to help heat the home. These homes are also built in a way that reduces heat loss and allows the homes to be heated and cooled solely through the use of solar energy. 

Solar Housing Around the World

There have been many solar homes built recently and a lot of information is available about the impact that these houses have on the environment and the families that live in them. The Active House Alliance is a non-profit organization based in Brussels, Belgium that is dedicated to sharing information on solar housing and they allow architects and engineers to upload photos and information on solar powered homes that they have designed or built. 

This allows anyone who is interested in solar housing to learn more about these homes and you can gain more information on how to transform your home into a solar powered home. There are many homes on display that have are more than carbon neutral and produce more energy that they consume. One of the most interesting homes is called Isobo Aktiv and was developed by Jadarhus in Norway. 

isobo aktivThis home makes use of many different solar technologies to create a completely self sufficient home. This home is built to very exact specifications and is extremely well insulated to almost completely eliminate heat loss. The house is able to use solar energy to cover ninety five percent of the heating needs and ninety percent of the hot water needs, while also generating more than enough electricity to offset any additional energy needs through the use of PV solar panels. 

The house uses a control system to link all of the homes functions together and all aspects can be adjusted through the use of a single remote control. The home even features a system which will respond to all user commands with a sound or visual signal so you know the system is working properly. 

Twelve of these Jadarhus Isobo Aktiv solar powered homes have been built in Norway in a community development known as Sandved Vest which consists entirely of energy efficient homes and apartments. 

These houses are being sold as research units, meaning the family that purchases the house does so on the conditions that they will keep a log of how the house performs and their feelings about living there. This gives Jadarhus a unique opportunity to study the effects and efficiency of different types of solar technology and how they impact the overall performance and livability of the houses. 

Many of the solar homes around the world use Velux products and technologies, including roof windows and other components. Velux was founded in Denmark over 60 years ago and is the leading developer of passive solar technology for use in homes and commercial buildings. Velux United Kingdom has recently designed and produced several CarbonLight Homes in Kettering. 

velux carbonlightThese homes are completely carbon neutral and designed to be both efficient and comfortable, while also being very affordable for the normal British family. 

The Velux CarbonLight Homes are part of their larger European wide Model Homes 2020 program which is designed to develop sustainable and affordable housing all over Europe. 

The CarbonLight Homes that were built in Kettering have set the standard for the thousands of new model homes that are set to be built in the region in the near future. 

These homes have also won many UK awards for energy efficiency and help to take a big step towards allowing the typical family to live in a carbon neutral home for around the same price as a traditional home.

The Future Of Solar Homes
 
The future of solar housing lies with the current group of young people who are studying green or solar architecture and engineering. More and more universities around the world are dedicating faculties to the study of new green technology and this is resulting in new and exciting breakthroughs in solar design. 
 

solar decathlonSince 2002, the United States Department of Energy has sponsored the Solar Decathlon which occurs every two years and challenges twenty top universities to design and build unique solar houses. The houses should be both energy efficient and cost effective, as well as being aesthetically appealing as well. 

The winner is the team which best combines these features in a home which should appeal to consumers and cost around the same amount as a typical house. All of the houses designed for the competition are required to produce at least as much or more energy than they consume while also being comfortable to live in. 

The competition is open to the public for free and features workshops for both the public and commercial builders to learn how to make their own homes more energy efficient. You can view pictures of all of the houses and learn more about the competition at the Solar Decathlon website. You can also view videos of all of the workshops offered so you can learn more about how to turn your home into a solar home. 

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