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Architect Says Ancient Indigenous Solar Technology Can Free Us From Oil

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Solar power can deliver heat not only more efficiently than oil but also at a much lower cost—and, writes an architect in the Staten Island Advance newspaper of New York City, ancient Indigenous Peoples are the ones to show us how.

“Native Americans in the canyons of Arizona would use the southern cliff exposure of a canyon to heat their adobe buildings cleverly placed in caves just so that the low winter sun angle would soak them with sunlight while the summer angle would be higher and therefore missing the buildings,” wrote Ciro Asperti of the American Institute of Architects’ Staten Island chapter in the borough’s main newspaper. “Tracking the sun was part of life; many activities were dependent on the seasons and the sun path. Civilizations worshipped the sun for its power to generate and sustain life.”

The technology and level of reverence for the sun may have changed over the millennia, he pointed out, but the sun, not so much.

“A building is a receptor of energy and light. Its orientation is the most important factor to observe when planning a house,” Asperti wrote in his December 6 column. “A properly oriented south facing wall will, with sufficient fenestration, allow solar energy to enter the building envelope and warm the interior.”

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He offers readers a number of measures that can be taken, from tiling choices, to window size, to strategically placed outdoor canopies. Such information is especially relevant the borough strives to rebuild a year after the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

Read Native Americans of Arizona Knew the Power of Solar Energy in the Staten Island Advance.

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