Passive Solar Heat – What is more energy efficient to heat and cool?

Question by Zombie With Fresh Socks: What is more energy efficient to heat and cool?
A three story building with a basement (doesn’t need to be heated, but it may affect the figures), or three single story buildings, one with a basement. I’m trying to design a green “village” area, and I’m trying to use green methods of heating and cooling. My thinking is that, since heat rises and cold drops, it would be more efficient to heat one building from the bottom floor and cooling from the top floor, as opposed to heating and cooling three separate buildings, but I may be wrong.

Any insight is appreciated.

Best answer:

Answer by Red E3
one building will be easier than three in most cases.

It is important to remember hot moves to cold (1st law of thermodynamics)

While the hot air is more buoyant than cold and therefore hot air moves up and cold air falls in most case. Where we have a cold sink of an unconditioned basement connected to the home heat will move to cold regardless of direction.

The system should be zoned to control heat and cold in different rooms or floors. Different thermostats in each zone.

If you were to simply heat or cool one area nothing would be comfortable

The best design would be super insulation and bring the basement within the envelope.

Passive solar design would also be considered

Check out http://Buildingscience.com

Good luck

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