Tag Archives: passive solar home

AuSES Conference Best Papers: Built Environment

We have prepared list of solar-e.com’s own selection of ranked candidates for the best Built Environment papers presented at the

‘Solar 2010’ Conference: Policies and Strategies (including the Economics of solar energy, diversity of derived forms of solar energy, electricity grids and data collection)

The analysis and understanding the of more obscure fields of solar energy related technology and policy developments is obviously another critical step forward to applying more solar energy in our economy. this section will hopefully expand as more papers are delivered in the future.

AuSES Committee – Best Papers at AuSES Solar 2010 as judged by the AuSES panel

Student Prizes – Wal Read Memorial Prizes
Post Graduates Prizes
BILBAO, Jose “PV-Thermal Water Systems as a Retrofit for Near Zero Energy Homes”
Winner $1500 AUD
BAMBROOK, Shelley “Experimental PVT Air System for Dwellings”
Highly Commended $1000 AUD
LHENDUP, Tshewang “Simulation of a Ground-coupled Heat Pump Combined with Solar Collectors”
Commended $250 AUD
ELLISTON, Ben “Grid parity: A potential misleading concept?”
Commended $250 AUD

Undergraduates Prizes
BRAZIER, Thomas “Dependence of installed cost of a 1.5 kW rooftop PV system on module efficiency”
Joint Winner $1,000 AUD
BOEREMA, Nicholas “Economics of constraints on wind farms – SA”
Joint Winner $1,000 AUD
O’BRIEN, Paul “Exergetic analysis of a steam-flashing thermal storage system”
Joint Winner $1,000 AUD

Built Environment: Solar-e.com Director Garry Baverstock’s personal selection of the Best Papers

At the conference the papers were presented under a number of category headings such as Built Environment, Wind Power, Photovoltaics, Environmental Benefits, Solar Thermal and Economics. Following is our selection of the worthwhile papers and a ranking based on relevance to world situation on Climate Change, the impact on the increased use of solar energy and the quality of the research as presented in the paper.
image of apple on booksThe best papers, in our opinion, have been listed. This is our opinion, but we are interested in what the solar experts think and any comments are welcome. If we have overlooked a paper or you disagree with our assessment please feel free to offer your opinion. If bona fide it will be published.


A comment by Garry Baverstock, A.M. follows each heading.

1. A Method for Practical Zero Carbon Refurbishments: A Residential Case Study

John Shiel1,2, Dr Steffen Lehmann3, Dr Jamie MacKee1

Comment: This is a complex issue and needs to be ‘fully understood with a price on carbon near to implementation, throughout the developed world.

2. PVT Water Systems as a viable Retrofitting for near Zero Energy Homes in Sydney Climate

J. Bilbao*, A.B. Sproul

Comment: This work is prize winning for the student and has great vision to the most pressing issue in our built environment, retrofitting our 7.5 million homes already built.

3. Mandatory Disclosure of House Energy Rating in the Australian Capital Territory

Trevor Lee

Comment: Lee’s work shows clearly the way forward in making home-owners more conscious of energy efficiency and the use of passive active solar strategies in their homes and achieve higher resale prices which is consistently possible with an energy efficient house.

4. A model for integrating passive elements into building ventilation and air-conditioning

Wasim Y. Saman1; Martin Belusko; Alemu Tiruneh

Comment: We need better simulation modelling that includes all passive elements and particularly natural ventilation in the built environment.

5. Performance comparisons of sky window spectral selective and high emittance radiant cooling systems under varying atmospheric conditions.

Dr Angus Gentle, Prof Geoff Smith

Comment: It is good to see highly qualified physicists getting involved in such a practical application with enormous benefits for low energy cooling systems in buildings in the future.

6. Gas Booster Solar Water Heaters: Queensland Case Studies of Installation Practices on New Homes

Wendy Miller, Raymond Miller
Comment: This is just the type of feedback that government and industry needs to know about installation practices when building an energy efficient house.

7. Experimental PVT Air System for Residential Dwellings

S. Bambrook, A. Sproul, School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy
Comment: This paper described evaluation of combining synergistic objectives of winter semi active heating as well as improving the efficiency of grid connected domestic systems. Great potential in the future retrofitting of houses in cool temperate climates.

8. An Indirect Evaporative Cooler for Supplying Air Near the Dew Point

Frank Bruno
Comment:Indirect evaporative cooling is about to become mainstream in commercial building and domestic use.
9. Low Cost, building Integrated CPV Using Standard Solar Panels

Dr Alonso Marquez, Ideasol Australia Pty Ltd
Comment: Cost is such an important issue and this paper has a practical application
10. The Development of a large Building Integrated Solar Collector for Pool Heating

TN Anderson M Duke, JK Carson, R Kunnemeyer and B Smith
Comment: Integrated systems in architecture are predicted to increase in popularity over the next 20 – 30 years.

11. Fast Thermal modelling Using Micro-Cap

GA Parnis, AB Sproul
Comment: Quicker thermal prediction tools are needed for designers

12. Photovoltaic Panels+Air Conditioners+Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms+A win-win situation

Christian Perfumo, JK Ward, and J Braslavsky
Comment: Combining the waste heat from photovoltaics provides some interesting possibilities over the coming decades

13. Simulation of a Ground –coupled Heat Pump Combined with Solar Collectors

Tshewang Lhendup, Lu Aye and RJ Fuller
Comment: There will be an explosion in innovation of combining systems once a carbon price is set worldwide


A message from AuSES
People who were not delegates at Solar 2010 (or AuSES members) who would like to access this resource they can apply for access for an annual fee of $140 (ex GST). Please go to AuSES website.

Solar-e.com invites you to leave comments at the end of this article.

Experts who disagree with our rating and choices we invite you to make comment and if enough substance is shown we will reserve the right to change the ranking at anytime or keep the ranking the same.


Energy Efficient House

Energy Efficient House: Design Recommendations

An energy efficient house which offers a recognised standard of energy and comfort, will have the following important features incorporated into its design:

  • It is correctly orientated to the sun (southern hemisphere locations require a northern orientation)
  • The window glass area and window placement have been scientifically calculated
  • Walls and floors are made from a mass material that is suitable to the climate of the area
  • Insulation is correctly placed and of the exact R rating for optimum effect
  • There is adequate natural ventilation, related correct window and door placement
Energy efficient house image

Energy Efficient House by Ecotect Architects

House Orientation

The majority of blocks in a housing estate should encourage houses of a rectangular shape with long axis close to east-west. Generally, the ratio of long to short axis must be more than 1.5. This will afford maximum privacy and cost efficiency. In cold climates the proportion will be longer but in hot climates for an energy efficient house result the shape will be more of a square than a rectangle.

Window Placement

In the southern hemisphere the living area should face north and have the largest window area. Conversely the northern hemisphere, living areas should face south. For the purpose of clarity, in this article we will presume the location of the energy efficient house is in the southern hemisphere. Windows should be shaded in summer but be free of shading in winter. The shading type can be adjustable or permanent – such as eaves, awnings and shutters.

North Walls

North facing glass should be clear. Avoid tinted glass in temperate climates. Fixed shading should have a specifically calculated overhang. When calculating the area of glazing to the north it is wise to restrict it to no more than 35% of the effective floor area in temperate climates. In colder or warmer climates the ratio is adjusted accordingly. For an energy efficient house to work well in all seasons, pergolas with deciduous plants or creepers, or shutters and awnings which are adjustable are preferable to a system of permanent shading. It is important to allow winter sun to enter the energy efficient house, therefore permanent shading should be avoided.

East-West Walls

In order to restrict the sun access, windows in the east and west walls should be minimised – or shaded to prevent the sun from entering. Shade structures are not useful for the east and west walls. The area of glazing should be restricted to less than 5% of the total floor area for both of these walls combined, with the western wall to account for no more than 2% of the total floor area. Allowances may be given if the other elevations use more than the minimum amount of recommended shading. The allowances will be calculated by a specialist in energy efficient house design. There are specific maximum co-efficients of shading which must be included in the calculation. Variations will be made for each climate.


Climbing deciduous creepers, deciduous trees and plants are recommended to shade east and west windows. Adjustable shade controls and tinted glass is also recomended for windows in the east and west walls.

South Walls

It is not required that windows in the south facing walls are shaded – if shading is used it should be limited in order to maximise winter sun benefits. The east, west and south facing glass areas should be restricted to a maximum of 15% of the floor area. Shading these areas will not allow this restriction to be lifted in a temperate or a cold climate zone. It may be found by using a computerised thermal analysis, that reflective or tinted glass may be used on south facing windows.

Stabilising Internal Temperatures

It is important to use the right materials in the construction of an energy efficient house – these materials differ from climate to climate. In a temperate climate, materials which absorb and store heat well, such as brick, rammed earth, rammed limestone and concrete, will provide stable air temperatures, especially in the hotter seasons. Construction should be on a concrete slab. Hard surface flooring materials, which absorb heat, are recommended specifically for north facing rooms. Coverings such as tiles, slate or polished concrete will continue to work over a 24-hour period. In extreme weather conditions, doors and windows should be kept closed.


In a temperate climate the roof insulation should be a minimum of R1.5. and if perimeter walls are of light weight they must have insulation with an R value of at least 1.0. Under extreme climate conditions these rates may increase to over R4.


To keep an energy efficient house naturally ventilated, the natural breeze patterns of the area must be considered. Windows and doors in the sleeping and living areas must be placed to capture the natural flow of air. Doors to the exterior of the house or rooms with high-flow fixed ventilation like bathrooms and toilets should be weather stripped. To prevent heat loss in winter, chimneys should be provided with a damper.

Hot Water System

The hot water system should be either gas or gas boosted solar. During long periods without adequate sunshine, the gas boosting will be required to maintain a steady supply of hot water. By combining these guidelines and working with energy efficient professionals, your energy efficient house will be cost-effective to run and work to the highest standards of comfort and energy efficiency.

Energy Efficient House Design Manual

Energy Efficient House Design Manual

By combining these guidelines, reading energy efficient house design manuals and working with energy efficient professionals, your energy efficient house will be cost-effective to run and work to the highest standards of comfort and energy efficiency.