… or How to Harvest Sun & Shade to Save Water & More

There are a number of ways we can work, live, and play with the seasons’ changing sun paths to enable us to freely and passively heat, cool, and power indoor and outdoor areas. A sun & shade trap creates a protected microclimate in which to plant a garden or fruit trees, hang out, or take an outdoor nap.

See in this Winter-Solstice Sun & Shade Trap video how the layout of trees and cisterns to the west of the garden—and house to north of it—create a sun trap welcoming the winter morning sun on the garden and front porch (see figures 1A and 2A), while a shade trap is created in the afternoon when the garden and front porch are shaded and cooled by the cisterns, trees, and the house itself at the hottest time of the day (see figures 1B and 2B).

Summer-Solstice Shade Trap at 3 pm

Fig. 2B. Summer-solstice shade trap at 3 pm

This not only saves water associated with power generation, but also significantly reduces the water needs of the garden, since the shaded and cooled plants and soil will lose less moisture to evapotranspiration and evaporation than they would if exposed to the more intense heat of direct sun at the hottest time of day.

Furthermore, note how full winter sun access is maintained for all the home’s winter-sun/equator-facing windows, trombe walls (between the windows), rooftop solar PV panels, rooftop solar water heater, and solar oven during the critical hours of solar access—while optimal summer shading is also maintained for the building’s walls and windows with an ideally sized roof overhang, covered porch to the east, and shade trees to the west and north.

Click here for more images, videos, and tips for putting sun and shade to work in your integrated resource-harvesting system!

Drops In a Bucket Blog © 2015

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