Heliodon Demonstration Models

Demonstration models have been developed to:

• show how the heliodon works

• teach solar geometry

• show how various solar responsive design strategies work

• show how solar devices are designed


For example, they can demonstrate the basic principles of street and building orientation, that each orientation needs a different facade design, and that trees should be on the east and west but not on the south side of a building.


Click on the image for a manual that describes how to make and use these models.

Free 3 Tier Poster

The three-tier approach to the sustainable low energy design of heating, cooling, and lighting is shown. Tiers one and two are the domains of the architect, and proper design decisions at these two levels can reduce the energy consumption of buildings as much as 80 percent. All items with an asterisk are part of solar-responsive design. This image can be downloaded for free and used as a poster.

Free Solar Poster

The meaning of solar or solar energy varies over time. Presently most people equate solar with photovoltaics (PV). Thirty years ago, most people equated solar with active solar systems that heated water. It is best to think of the word “solar” as referring to any technique that uses solar energy to reduce our need for conventional energy. Thus solar refers to: photovoltaics, active hot water collectors, passive heating, daylighting, and shading. Although most people do not see shading as a solar strategy, much conventional energy can be saved by rejecting the sun. Since most people of the world live in hot climates and because the sun is most plentiful in the summer, shading may be the most immediately available and valuable form of “solar energy.” However, shading design requires a good understanding of solar geometry.

Free Solar Fruit Tree Poster

The word “solar” refers to much more that just photovoltaics (PV) usually called solar cells.  The “Solar Fruit Tree” shows not only all the major solar strategies, but places them at various heights in relationship to the order in which they should be picked.  Everyone agrees with the adage “pick the low hanging fruit first”, but they don’t always act on that wise saying.  Buildings should be designed using as many solar strategies as possible, starting with the lowest hanging one, namely orientation.

Heating, Cooling, Lighting

The book Heating, Cooling, lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects, 4th edition, 2015, Wiley, by N. Lechner describes many solar strategies in depth emphasizing the low hanging fruit.  The book also covers heliodons for the design of passive solar, shading, and daylighting.

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