Planning construction? Think about energy efficiency now

Jadon Lawson
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

The coronavirus pandemic has unexpectedly become one of the reasons for the growing trend of building your own independent housing. Anyone who is currently planning such a construction should think about using their own solar system, which will make them even more self-sufficient.

As long as the building is not yet fully designed and built, the owner can easily optimize the preparation of his future home for this particular technology.

Orientation of the house

To take full advantage of the benefits of local, self-generated solar energy, it is worth planning the installation of a solar system already at the time of construction of the house. Even if the system itself is added later, you can prepare the building for the technology during construction. By choosing which direction the walls of your home will be oriented, and thus how the roof will be laid, you lay the groundwork for a high-efficiency solar system. South-facing layouts with lots of open space are the most cost-effective. Any dormers, skylights, chimneys and antennas block space for possible panels, so the best place for them would be on the north side of the roof. Apart from the south, the east-west orientation is also suitable for mounting solar modules. Although the intensity of light in these directions is less, it lasts longer during the day than on the south side. The earlier your solar system is installed, the more you will reduce your electricity costs

Roof design

The angle of the sun is crucial to the performance of your photovoltaic system. Therefore, hipped and pitched roofs, due to their slope towards the sun, are the best choice when it comes to mounting your solar system panels. The area of Poland is between 49° and 55° latitude, so the inclination of the solar modules should be between 34° and 70° from the horizontal. Practice says that the collectors in our country work most efficiently when set at an angle of 40°. If you decide on adjustable solar panels, remember that they will work best at an angle of 30° in summer and 60° in winter. With a tiled roof, the roof hooks that hold the solar modules in place are attached directly to the roof structure. The collector replaces the previously removed covering and does not require any additional support structure – its weight is very close to the weight of ceramic tiles. There is also a second method: mounting the panels directly above the roof covering using special frames

Ducts for cables and space in the basement

If your solar system will be added later, it’s a good idea to keep in mind during the construction of the house structure the ducts that will lead from the roof to the basement or other utility room. This type of ducting simplifies the laying of wires from the collectors on the roof to the storage tank. Additional space should be provided in the electrical switchgear – this is where you will connect the inverter, as well as the AC surge protection, the overcurrent protection and the electrical meter cooperating with the inverter. The latter should be located somewhere near the main electrical switchgear, no more than 10 meters away from it – then it will not be necessary to install additional surge protection

Present consumption in view of the future

If you have ever thought about buying an electric car, you should also discuss this with your PV advisor. Current consumption as a basis for calculating the future size of a solar system may not be reliable enough. Instead, it makes sense to use the entire roof area. For a single-family home, a system size of up to 10 kilowatts is usually the most economically viable option. If you decide to go solar, it’s not worth it to play around with half-measures, but to take full advantage of its potential

Coordinating the construction of the solar structure and system

If you’ve used the previous prompts, installing the collectors and their peripherals should be fairly straightforward. This coordination in planning has huge financial and time benefits. Even such trivial things as not needing to dismantle and reassemble scaffolding saves your money and time for this type of work. If such a structure is used both for building a house and for installing a solar system, the cost and expense of rebuilding the scaffolding is definitely less.

Main article photo: Designed by Freepik

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