Solar Movie – Solar House Facing the Wrong Way

Solar Movie – Solar House Facing the Wrong Way


In the mid 1990s it was still hard to get
people to understand what solar design was all about. There was some consciousness about
the greenhouse effect and growing concern. In this episode of ‘Your Place or Mine’ it
highlights the benefits and the approach to solar design, and how it can solve, or start
to solve the world’s problems as we saw them at the time. Well this is the life. With a lovely home
overlooking the Port Mandurah canals, and even a launch tied up out front ready to go
for a cruise, I could really get used to this. Designed by architect Garry Baverstock, and
built by its retired owners, this home has 25 meters of river frontage, all facing due
west, with superb views up and down the canal. Before building this home its owners decided
to make maximum use of solar principles for lighting and temperature control. But its
westerly aspect into the afternoon sun posed a real problem for the designer. Well here’s the architect now,
Hi Garry, Hi Anne,
Well this is a lovely big room to walk into to start with,
Yes it’s the main room in the house Anne, and the owners are able to sit there and look
at the view, but we had to get some winter sun into this room obviously.
So this is where you’ve put that solar design theory into practise?
That’s correct. And how does it work?
Well this skylight is a main feature of that, and in the winter time we are able to get
the winter sun to come through and in penetrate right into the room, and the owners can sit
there in the sun and look at the view at the same time. So those slats are angled like that just to
create that effect? That’s correct Anne, they’re there to
allow the winter sun to come through were orientated to the north but we have privacy
problems and that allows the winter sun to come through and yet shade in the summer time
By creating a large open space inside the house with step-down levels, Garry was able
to take advantage of the sloping block then clever placement of corner windows made the
most of canal views, while still keeping that privacy to the north. The use of lots of glass
along the northern and western sides was also a real problem for sun control. Shade control was achieved by large solar
pergolas that flow from the north round to the west and they allow the winter sun to
come through but then shade the windows on the west side which are kept off the floor
as much as possible, so we could get the view without having too big an area of glass. Good lines of sight through the home make
it feel bigger than it really is. The main entry foyer is very impressive, and its feature
is definitely this free standing staircase which is made of miata wood. Along with this
beautifully moulded curve, the steps and balustrading have been left open and floating to let in
as much light as possible. Upstairs two bedrooms and a bathroom have all been cleverly designed
to retain those impressive views across the canal. Even the master bedroom downstairs
has a canal view. Despite the difficulties, owners Don and Shirley are very pleased with
their solar design home. Definitely, that is the reason we spent so
much time on the house, because we don’t like artificial lighting and artificial heating
and we also wanted something so that we could see and still be cool. It’s really does suit the lifestyle Don
in that respect. Yes, yes very much indeed yes, it couldn’t
be better. I would say in the next five years we are
going to see a lot more solar design houses right through this stage. Let’s face it,
we simply have to do that, as a society we have to save energy, we have to reduce pollution.
It not only makes sense for the owners to live in a comfortable bright house but also
do something for the community and the planet.

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