Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow and Solar Gain

We woke yesterday to eighteen fresh inches of beauty.

Many posts ago I made the promise to tell you what we would choose to do differently if we were to build Haven again.

Here's the first thing I would consider changing:

Now, not the steel roof itself. I love the steel roof! I still adore the color I chose. (Which is good, since it will last a long, long time!) What I might modify is the cut we made in the roof along the front of the house.

Living in PA, we need every spare ray of sunshine to come inside our house (in the winter) for reasons of warmth and sanity. So we made the cut in the roof to allow the sunlight to travel in through the top row of windows.

However, it may have been a mistake to cut in as far as we did. In the winter, the roof warms up slightly, and the snow slides right off in one gigantic avalanche, resulting in a mountain of snow right in front of the French doors. (Note: we don't really use the French doors in winter. It's more just the point that we don't want snow piling up against any part of the house.)

But, coming back to our original reasons for cutting the roofline, if we had extended the front roof to match the overhang that surrounds the rest of the house, I wouldn't be blessed with this:

Gorgeous sunshine and deep windowsills! Could there be any better place to curl up and read? (Or sleep, if you are our cat!) I guess sunshine and passive solar win out, especially when I have a wonderful husband who is willing to move mountains for me!

For those of you who have some, enjoy the snow. Maple season is just around the corner.


  1. When we built our home we gave the same consideration to the depth of the eaves. Since we have a two story house we pondered the depth for the reason of blocking hot summer heat-gain, but we didn't want to block any of the winter light. I found an engineer that did energy audits that gave me a formula for the right depth. We used it and I must say it was spot on!

    LOVE your deep windowsills and organic curves! Kim

  2. Kim---that's awesome that you were able to attain the balance of blocking summer heat without compromising winter light. This is the second home we've built. We did a better job this time. (The first home was too warm in the summer, but had wonderful lighting.) You know what they say---the third time's a charm! Hah! I do not see myself building again---but if I do, I'll be contacting you for that formula!
    Thanks for the compliment; the curves are my very favorite part of the house!

  3. You're right, steel roofs like that are suitable for such conditions because it can shed snow easily. I also like the color blue on your roof and how it's refreshing to the eyes. It blends quite well with the snow and the mountains.

    Will Peartin