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Home Harnesses Sun To Heat Inside, Keep Cool In Winter

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A new home in Littleton harnesses the sun to keep the inside warm in chilly winter months. (credit: CBS)

A new home in Littleton harnesses the sun to keep the inside warm in chilly winter months. (credit: CBS)

Written by Paul Day

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)- The house may look like other new homes in the Littleton neighborhood but it doesn’t act that way.

“We harvest the sun,” said Matt Fredell, a custom home builder.

Special south-facing glass transmits the sun’s warmth indoors and the heat moves naturally to the highest point in the house where two holes are visible.

“Those are the intakes for our distribution system,” he explained.space Home Harnesses Sun To Heat Inside, Keep Cool In Winter

A mechanical fan draws the warm air through a duct into the basement. There, under the concrete slab, sits a storage system comprised of 2,000 concrete blocks. They’re arranged in a way that absorbs the sun’s heat and releases it as needed overnight.

Even on a freezing cold day, this solar heated home registers 66 degrees on the main floor.

Fredell said he built the house super tight with no drafts and very little fluctuation in daily temperature.

“This house is far more comfortable than any other house you’ve been in,” he claimed.

When most people think of solar homes, they envision photo-voltaic panels on the roof. But that’s for making electricity. This is different.

A solar heated home relies on collecting the warmth from sunshine and storing it to heat the house. The concept requires using special materials which add about five percent to the cost of construction.

But the payback comes with operating expenses. The newly completed home in Littleton is the sixth home Fredell has built with solar heat. He lived in two of them.

The home builder claims home heating bills are reduced by sixty to ninety percent with solar heating. A natural gas furnace is used as a backup but it’s rarely needed.

What’s it like living in a solar heated home in the summertime? Fredell said the house remains comfortable because the cool air of night is collected and stored.

The new solar heated home in Littleton is already sold. Fredell asked CBS4 not to reveal the address exact location out of respect for the privacy of the new homeowner.

Innovative Structures is the name of Matt Fredell’s home building company.

Click here for more information.

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