Book Review: The Solar House.

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Book review courtesy of Joan Forkner at, who makes it possible for publishers to get the green word out in a cost effective and environmentally friendly manner.

This was a well written and comprehensive review of passive solar building techniques. It will be of interest to both an individual interested in building an extreme solar home and an individual interested in building an energy efficient home of a more standard design incorporating low or no cost passive solar features

I was particularly impressed with the examples given of poor solar design. For example the author includes a complete section on thermal mass. He discusses the problems of having too little thermal mass (the house becomes too warm in the daytime and then cools too quickly at night) and of having too much thermal mass (the cost becomes too high). He discusses the types of material that can provide the mass, as well as their pros and cons. He also includes rules of thumb for selecting the optimum amount of thermal mass.

There are brief mentions of photovoltaics, wind and geothermal heat pumps. I am very interested in these areas and would like to see them expanded in future editions. The author does, however, include an extensive guide to other resources such as books, videos, magazines, newsletters, organizations and suppliers.

If you are considering building a new home or renovating an existing home this book will provide a strong foundation of information. It will steer you in the proper direction and keep you from repeating the mistakes of others.

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  1. Good to see a comprehensive book on passive solar. This is a technology that we can all utilize and in many places, it will completely cover your electricity bill and even put some back into the system. I hope the next administration reinstates the tax incentives for people to install solar on their homes.

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