UTILIZE THE NATURAL LIGHT OF THE SUN
Even though the sun is 93 million miles away, the benefits it can provide to your well-being and your carbon footprint are innumerable. From strategically placed windows and new approaches to the concept of “skylights”, such as solar tubes and fibe roptic sunlight transport devices, getting creative with natural daylight can reap big benefits for your health and your energy bill.
SOLAR TUBES AND SUNLIGHT TRANSPORT DEVICES
Whether you have floor-to-ceiling windows or you stare at a brick wall through a porthole, you can still use natural daylight to light your space. New solar illumination technology that utilizes mirrors and fiber optics such as solar tubes and sunlight transport devices can collect sunlight on your roof and pump it into your interior space through small cables. A great example of this is a product called the Sun-Tracker made by Ciralight Global. This skylight works by tracking the sun with a set of mirrors that redirect light into the interior of your space through fiber optic cables.
PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN
So by now you know that having strategically placed windows and/or skylights is great in terms of flooding your home with natural light – making you peppy and cutting your energy bill. The downside to this, of course, is that while additional solar radiation can be a boon in the winter when you are trying to keep warm, it can be a real problem in the summer when you are trying to cool your home, and the sun keeps heating it back up again! Fortunately there are many great tricks and tips to cut solar radiation in the summer and maximize it in the winter, such as positioning your windows correctly, placing overhangs over your windows, and placing trees in front of your windows (in summer leaves will shade the windows, while in the winter, bare branches will let sunlight into your windows). This collection of tried and true natural methods for heating and cooling your house using the sun is called ‘Passive Solar Design’ and it is a powerful and fascinating discipline that is worth studying.
He was the founding Chair of Architecture for The San Francisco Design Museum and one of the founders of ecoTECTURE: The Online Journal of Ecological Design. He is a regular contributor for Sustainable Industries Journal, Luxe, Natural Home, Metropolitan Home and dozens of other publications. Eric lectures around the country at 40+ conferences a year, and his work has been featured in Dwell, Metropolis, Town & Country, Natural Home and Newsweek. He has been seen on television on Fox News, HGTV, The Sundance Channel and PBS.
Eric is the author of four books, including “Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies”, a best seller with over 100,000 copies in print. His latest books, “Sustainable School Architecture” and “Green$ense for your Home” were just released in 2010.
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ABOUT MARVIN WINDOWS AND DOORS
Some of America’s most energy-efficient LEED showcase homes feature the very same Marvin windows that you can buy for your own home. Marvin believes in building top performance into windows and doors with proven technology that are accessible to the average homeowner. And the proof is in the numbers: Marvin has more than 150,000 window and door products that are ENERGY STAR certified.
More than 80 percent of the existing U.S. housing stock was built before 1990. Replacing old, inefficient windows and doors is one of the best ways to increase America’s overall energy efficiency. To see how beautiful, efficient Marvin windows and doors can become part of your home, sign up for Marvin’s online remodeling planner. This free planner helps you visualize space, track budgets and create an inspiration board.