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For its first meeting of 2011, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is pleased to host building scientist Alexandra Rempel, Ph.D., M.Arch., of Solarc Architecture and Engineering. Her presentation is entitled "Sunspaces in the Land of Fog and Moss: Thermal and Architectural Investigations of Passive Solar Heating in Northern Climates.” The free lecture will take place at BRING's Planet Improvement Center, 4446 Franklin Boulevard, Glenwood on January 5, 2011, beginning at 7 PM.
Alex will pose the question of whether passive solar heating can be worthwhile in a cool, wet, overcast climate. In 1981, researchers at the International Solar Energy Society showed that as latitude increases, the need for heat rises more rapidly than the solar resource diminishes. They concluded that passive solar heating is actually more valuable at higher latitudes than lower ones, even in rainy climates. Ironically, our regional building culture largely overlooks passive solar heating, even as months of cloudy skies compel people to design for optimal daylighting.
Alex's discussion will set the stage for a combined mathematical modeling and field study, beginning in January, which has the goal of understanding sunspace characteristics in Eugene's climate. Those who attend the presentation are encouraged to share their experiences and opinions.
The SW Oregon (Eugene) Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild has provided hundreds of free public events on the subject of sustainable design. Past topics have included passive solar design, cellular concrete, and earthen buildings. The Guild provides open-source educational tools to the construction industry and the general public in order to encourage building practices that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, are self-sustaining, contribute to local economies, and create optimal conditions for human health and community. If you’re not already a member and are interested in networking, sharing, and learning with others sustainable builders, visit http://ecobuilding.org/membership and join the Guild.