A sunroom is a great addition to any residence. A sunroom (also called a solarium or a garden room) can be attached or integrated into your home to allow you to enjoy the surrounding landscape while still being sheltered from the weather. A sunroom is designed to showcase and use the light and heat of the sun, so it is often used in passive solar building designs. If you wish to include this technology into your new sunroom, it is important to hire a building contractor with experience in building structures that capture and store solar energy to heat, cool, or light your home when the sun is not available. These sunrooms can have floor-to-ceiling windows or use other devices to harness the heat and light from the sun. Here are some considerations to think about if you are remodeling your home and wish to build an energy-efficient sunroom:
Photovoltaic Sunroom: You can design and have your contractor build an efficient passive solar sunroom by having photovoltaic solar panels installed on your roof. These solar panels contain numerous individual photovoltaic cells that collect the heat and light from the sun and convert it into energy that is stored in batteries. These batteries can be placed in a special battery storage room on your roof. You can use the power stored in these batteries by switching them on from a control panel in your home. You can also use the energy from these batteries to power a home generator if desired.
Greenhouse Sunroom: You can design and have your contractor build a greenhouse sunroom in your residence with floor-to-ceiling windows and a row of large water barrels near the base of the windows. The large windows concentrate the energy from the sun and heat the water in the barrels. This heated water can then be channeled to flow into underfloor pipes in your sunroom and other rooms of your house for heat in the winter. The heated water can also be used to run a generator that can power an air conditioning system to cool your home in the summer. Living plants in the greenhouse can freshen the air, create humidity, and grow edible vegetables and fruits.
Wind Turbine Sunroom: If you have consistent wind in your location, you can install wind turbines on the roof of your sunroom to spin and create household energy. As the wind turbines spin, they power a rotational drive shaft that creates energy. This energy can be converted into compressed air that is stored in large above-ground or below-ground tanks. This compressed air can then be used when needed to heat or cool your sunroom and the rest of your house.
Speak to a contractor who installs sunrooms about how to orient your new sunroom to take full advantage of the sunlight and the wind in your location. He or she will be able to work with you to design an energy system that can supply much of the power needed in your home at any time of day or night or any season of the year. In this way, your home can save you a lot of money and become a model of energy efficiency in your neighborhood.