Solutions for Self-Reliance

Does Your Home Capture Energy?


Here’s a tiny tip when buying or renting your next house or apartment.

Make sure that either the front or the back (better yet) of your future home faces solar south.

NOTE: Solar south is the direction of the sun (north if you live in the southern hemisphere).  It’s different than magnetic south, which is what you get from a compass.  There’s a conversion factor, depending on where you live.

Why is solar south important?

It allows you to make the most out of the solar energy available to you (pics below via


For example.  It allows you to use your windows for passive solar heating and growing vegetables/herbs.

It makes it easy to set up solar panels for electricity production, or set up a solar hot water system.

It makes vertical gardening that cools your home easier to do (think green walls and trellises).

There’s lots of little items like this that will make a lot of difference in how productive your home is.  How resilient it can become.

Unfortunately, almost everyone buys homes based solely on commute distance and curb appeal.  Not many people think in terms of how much energy it has access to.  That will change….

Solar Shading

While I’m on the topic of solar orientation, let’s talk about window shading a bit.

Window shading plays a big part in how you should shade your windows to control light and heat gain.  As you can see in the diagrams of the sun’s path (above):

  • Obviously, there’s no need to shade northern windows from solar radiation.
  • Shading southern sun is pretty easy.  It can be done using a standard overhang.  
  • It’s important but difficult to provide shade for east and west windows due to how low the sun can get on the horizon.  For these windows, it’s best to block the sun before it hits the windows in early morning or mid afternoon with an awning or shutters.

Here’s some examples:



Keep thinking resiliently.




JR Small





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