Mike's Low Thermal Mass, Many Purpose Sunspace in the Colorado Mountains

This is Mike's low thermal mass sunspace in Colorado.  Its a great example of the same sunspace serving many purposes -- its used for all of these things:

- Provides lots of heat to the house.

- Its a popular place for the family to gather, kids to play, or just to have a cup of coffee and look at the view.

- Is a great place to dry clothes, firewood, and food.

multi function low thrmal mass sunspace

It also looks great, and adds value to the house.

I don't know of any solar project that pays off on so many fronts.

Thanks very much to Mike for providing the description, measuring the performance, and suffering my endless questions!

All the details from Mike on their low thermal mass sunspace...(pdf)


In addition to the pdf description of the design and build of the sunspace, Mike has provided a spreadsheet that shows how the heat that the sunspace provides to the house is measured and calculated, and also allows you to change the various parameters to see how it effects the heat produced.

Spreadsheet to estimate heat produced by sunspace...

If you have comments, questions or suggestions, please see the Comments section below.

Much more on low thermal mass sunspaces here...

A sampling of pictures:

low thermal mass sunspace inside the sunspace sunspace build

While the space heating of the house is the sunspaces major contribution to energy saving, just consider that having a good, year round place to dry clothes saves an additional 1200 KWH of electricity and 2000 lbs of CO2 emissions a year -- about the same as a 1000 watt PV array would produce.  Mike is working on a way to add solar preheating of domestic water to the sunspace -- potentially another several thousand KWH per year energy saving.

Its just amazing how versatile these sunspaces can be.

Update -- February 2013:

Mike has added a sunroom loft play area and a climbing wall. 
Sort of a treehouse in the sunspace.

No end to the things a sunspace can be used for!

  sunspace play area
click on pictures for full size
sunspace play and clothes drying area



Questions, comments, suggestions, experiences, -- please comment.


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January 15, 2013