Aiming for a Net Zero & Passive Home in Texas? Why You Should Choose Bautex

Pas­sive solar design min­i­mizes a home’s ener­gy use by tak­ing advan­tage of the local cli­mate, the home’s site and ori­en­ta­tion and the ben­e­fits of using mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass. For instance, in Texas, pas­sive design rec­om­mends long rec­tan­gle homes ori­ent­ed with its long sides fac­ing north-south. The north-south ori­en­ta­tion min­i­mizes direct sun­light dur­ing the sum­mer (which reduces cool­ing demands) while max­i­miz­ing sun­light dur­ing the win­ter (which reduces heat­ing demands). Pas­sive solar design also pro­motes the use of mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass like con­crete, stone, brick, and the Bau­tex™ Wall System’s insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks. A mate­r­i­al with ther­mal mass can absorb, store and release the sun’s heat ener­gy and help keep the indoor tem­per­a­ture of a build­ing sta­ble. The pur­pose of pas­sive design it to con­tribute towards achiev­ing a net zero ener­gy house. A net zero ener­gy home makes as much ener­gy as it uses; sav­ing the home­own­er mon­ey and ener­gy. Pas­sive solar design uses build­ing mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass and con­sid­ers the building’s site and ori­en­ta­tion, along with the local cli­mate.

Thermal Mass Materials in Passive Solar Design

An essen­tial com­po­nent of pas­sive solar design is the use of mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass. Mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass have inher­ent qual­i­ties for both heat­ing and cool­ing. In warm, humid cli­mates, like Texas, ther­mal mass can be used to keep a home cool dur­ing the hot sum­mers. For instance, at night a con­crete home, like one built with Bau­tex Blocks, will absorb the cool­er evening air and store it with­in its mass. Dur­ing the day, it takes mass walls longer to heat up, they will stay cool and so will the inte­ri­or of the home. In the win­ter, the con­crete walls absorb the sun’s heat ener­gy dur­ing the day. The heat then slow­ly spreads through the wall (con­duc­tiv­i­ty) and releas­es into the home dur­ing the night. Mate­ri­als with a high amount of ther­mal mass, like con­crete, nat­u­ral­ly work to slow the rate of heat trans­fer and act to sta­bi­lize the tem­per­a­ture shifts in a home. A pas­sive solar design must incor­po­rate mate­ri­als with ther­mal mass to work towards achiev­ing a net zero ener­gy use home.

Aim for a Net Zero Energy Home with Bautex Wall Systems

The Bau­tex Block Wall System’s insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks pro­vide the ther­mal mass and con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion demands of pas­sive solar design. With­out exte­ri­or and inte­ri­or fin­ish­es, the con­tin­u­ous R‑value for Bau­tex Blocks is R‑14; far exceed­ing (ASHRAE 90.1) Code (2015 IECC) rec­om­men­da­tions and build­ing codes of Texas. A home with Bau­tex Block con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion and brick veneer is an R‑18 sys­tem. In warmer, south­ern cli­mate zones like Texas, ASHRAE 90.1 R‑value require­ments for con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion (above grade, mass walls), are less than R‑8. The use of Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, improves ener­gy effi­cien­cy, stops ther­mal bridg­ing, and saves build­ing own­ers mon­ey for years to come. Bau­tex Blocks are the per­fect mate­r­i­al choice when aim­ing for a net zero ener­gy and pas­sive solar home in Texas.

Home Orientation and Local Climate in Passive Solar Design

Pas­sive solar design advo­cates that it is more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly and less expen­sive to work with nature, rather than fight against. Specif­i­cal­ly, prop­er ori­en­ta­tion of a home on its site, that takes advan­tage of the sun’s ener­gy, is a cost-effec­tive way to reduce ener­gy use. A pas­sive solar design also max­i­mizes or min­i­mizes solar gains by place­ment of win­dows.

  • The south side of a home receives sun­light through­out the day and should have the most win­dows. The south side should also have siz­able over­hangs to pro­vide shade in the sum­mer and sun in the win­ter. Anoth­er ben­e­fit of south fac­ing win­dows, is they allow nat­ur­al light to bathe the house through­out the day reduc­ing the need for arti­fi­cial light and low­er­ing the over­all ener­gy use through­out the house.
  • The north side of the house is in the shade and the cold­est side of the home; there­fore min­i­mize the win­dows and doors on the north side of a home.
  • A pas­sive solar design also lim­its win­dows (or oth­er trans­par­ent mate­ri­als) on the west and east side of a home. The sun often strikes these sur­faces half of the day and can­not be eas­i­ly con­trolled.

Pas­sive solar design cre­ates an ener­gy effi­cient and com­fort­able home. Pas­sive solar design uti­lizes the sun’s ener­gy for the cool­ing and heat­ing of liv­ing areas. Most essen­tial, pas­sive solar design uti­lizes ther­mal mass mate­ri­als like the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks. Imple­ment­ing pas­sive solar design can help a house achieve a net zero ener­gy sta­tus; which saves home­own­ers mon­ey and ener­gy. Vis­it Bau­tex Wall Sys­tems for more infor­ma­tion on aim­ing for a net zero ener­gy and pas­sive solar home in Texas.