Sun angle and sun path
Yesterday I wrote that our
new porches tempt me and Mark to spend more time relaxing outdoors than we used to. As a
result, we've been paying more attention to the natural world, and,
after a couple of weeks, I made a shocking dicovery. The summer
sun rises in a totally different
spot than the winter sun does!
Yes, we technically
already took advantage of this fact when we planned
our south-facing trailer windows to capture winter sun without roasting
us in the summer. And if you'd asked me a year ago, I could have
you that the sun is lower in the sky in the winter than in the summer.
But I didn't realize
that the sun being higher in the summer sky means that it rises over
the barn instead of over the hill like it does in the winter!
This tidbit of data makes our budding passive solar heating and cooling
systems a bit more complex.
Notice how our new porch shades the East Wing from
the morning sun. I was a bit concerned that we'd be losing some
much-needed winter solar gain, but overlaying the sunpath diagram with
a map of our property shows that the sun has moved so far south in the
sky by late fall that it barely hits the side of the east wing at all.
By the same reckoning,
we could probably block some of the scorching late afternoon sun on the
west side of our trailer without impacting winter solar heat gain as
well. I'm still wrapping my head around the
fact that the sun doesn't rise in the east and set in the west, though,
so I think I'm going to observe a little longer before I make any
drastic decisions for that area.
If you want to play with
sun patterns in your own neck of the woods, there are lots of good
resources on the web. This website allows you to
calculate the sun angle at your latitude (but you'll have to draw the
elevation mockup yourself) and this
website has downloadable sunpath diagrams, like the second image in
this post. Finally, this website allows
you to plot sunrise and sunset locations overlaying an aerial photo of
your property for any day of the year.
Or you can just build a
porch and watch the world unfold around you.
Our chicken waterer never spills in uneven
terrain, so it's much safer than traditional waterers in chicken
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Edited to add:
Read more about passive
solar design in Trailersteading, which is now available for
$1.99 on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed