Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Sun- & Shade-Harvesting Image Gallery

Ancient Passive-Solar Design

I am amazed by the high level of awareness many ancient cultures had—and still have—in regards to the changing seasonal path of the sun, and how since long ago they have integrated this awareness into their lives and their design choices. These photographs were taken at various sites on the summer and winter solstices to illustrate these cultures' wise use of passive-solar design and practice of solar rights.

Modern Passive-Solar Design of Willow Bend Environmental Center

This is one of my favorite buildings because of how well—and how simply—it has been designed in relationship with the sun's seasonally changing path in the sky. I've always found it to be very comfortable inside without any mechanical heating or cooling. The photos were taken at noon on the summer and winter solstice to illustrate how well the sun is harvested in winter, and shade is harvested in summer.

Garottage Passive-Solar Design and Art

These images illustrate how I aligned the design of the roof overhang of my garottage (garage-turned-cottage), its retractable awning, window placement and sizing, east-facing porch, and sculpture with the seasonally changing path of the sun. As a result, the structure is mostly heated for free in winter by the sun, and cooled for free in summer with shade.

Sun- and Shade-Harvesting Mirror

These images illustrate how a mirror on hinges on the interior of my garottage’s west wall carries out multiple functions: letting us direct the winter sun where we want it, protecting books from sun bleaching, and doubling the view through the window in the adjoining south wall’s door, all while avoiding the unwanted heat gain that would result from a window installed facing the hot afternoon sun in the west. These photos were all taken within one minute of each other on a late morning in winter.

Passive-Solar Retrofit to Enlarge Equator-Facing Window

These images illustrate a simple retrofit on an existing building to enhance its free passive-solar performance.

Passive-Solar Ventilation Retrofit: Interior Transom Windows

These images illustrate a simple retrofit of an interior wall within an existing building. The installation of transom windows enhances the free harvest of daylight, while improving free cross-ventilation from cooling summer breezes or the heat from a wood stove in winter.

Shaded, Passively Cooled Markets in Turkey and Syria

I love the fresh air of these naturally/freely ventilated, shaded, and cooled markets. They are so full of life without any annoying hums, vibrations, or exhaust from air conditioners.

Beautiful Exterior Retractable Summer Shade in Venice, Italy

Beautiful examples of simple awnings, exterior shutters, exterior blinds, and operable windows that maximize free, passive cooling with shade and breezes as needed.

Solar Rights

Images of solar rights/access retained and solar rights/access lost. See the Ancient Passive-Solar Design image gallery for more.

Sun- and Shade-Harvesting Cisterns

These photos show how rainwater cisterns can be placed to harvest the warmth and light of sun in cool times, while harvesting cooling shade in hot times. This makes the rainwater in the tanks go further, because the garden plants' water loss from evapotranspiration—and thus the water needs of the garden plants—are reduced by the cooling shade cast by the tanks.

Drops in a Bucket Blog

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Umbrella Newsletter

The Umbrella: Summer 2020

THE UMBRELLA: A catch-all of resources, events, media, and more from Brad Lancaster In this time of Covid-19 and spending more time at home to be safe, I’ve been grateful for the solace, inspiration, and bountiful sustenance my water-harvesting gardens, landscape, and neighborhood forest has provided me, my family, friends, and neighbors. Record summer heat […]

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