Sunwings: The Harrowsmith Guide to Solar Addition Architecture


148 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920656-37-4





Reviewed by Donavon L. Porter

Donavon L. Porter is a public-school teacher in Haileybury, Ontario.


This book may be the forerunner of a new generation of solar architecture and design books. The author has benefitted from the years of “state-of-the-art” research and actual experiences to realize that a solar project need not mean a totally self-sufficient solar-powered home. It can also include a very useful and practical retro-fitted addition. The author stresses quite clearly the important difference that he is addressing. These solar additions are not planned to heat the house but rather to add to the quality of life of the home-owner. Solar gain is a consideration but is not the primary focus of the addition. In fact, the author clearly demonstrates that an addition designed primarily for solar gain may be impractical for anything else — including growing plants and sun-bathing. Therefore, the author suggests that the home-owner determine his or her priorities first and then proceed to design the addition to fill those priorities.

This having been clearly stated, the author then proceeds to explore many of the basic planning, siting, design, and construction details pertinent to a project of this nature. The book is liberally spread with photographs and illustrations to supplement the clearly written narrative. Also included is a chapter detailing specific solar additions — giving both the pluses and minuses discovered by the owners. The author has put together a useful addition to the library of materials dealing with solar architecture and is refreshingly concerned with the practical.


Mohr, Merilyn, “Sunwings: The Harrowsmith Guide to Solar Addition Architecture,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,