Supplement to Cut Your Utility Bills “Sunroom energy additions”
If you’re building a sunroom, here are a couple tips to keep in mind for the greatest energy efficiency:
• Make the sunroom large enough so you can have a small container garden in one corner for fresh green salads and herbs year-round. This also produces some moisture for the air, which improves your family’s comfort during winter and allows you to set the heating thermostat lower.
• In warm climates, you should have a solid roof on the sunroom or it will likely overheat during summer. In average and cold climates, a clear roof captures more heat and you can control overheating with movable shades. Installing roof vents or a venting skylight also helps. Designs with slanted (lean-to) glass capture the most heat, but often have overheating problems. In warm climates, always install vertical glass.
For the best comfort and efficiency, add thermal mass to the sunroom. Thermal mass reduces overheating and helps it hold heat when the sun goes down. A brick paver floor and a concrete block knee wall are effective mass. Use large planters with heavy clay pots.
Return to the main August 2007 CUT YOUR UTILITY BILLS column that goes along with this supplement.