Passive solar power for your house
As I mentioned in my last post about masonry fireplaces, passive solar power is the best other heat source for a house that is heated with a masonry fireplace. It looks like oil and gas will keep getting more expensive (Have you seen End of Suburbia? It's online. Hint: Put on pause until the whole movie downloads), so anyone building a house would be smart to look for alternatives. I found this site called Build It Solar that has lots of practical advice about using solar energy. Home Power Magazine used to be free online, but I see they now charge $5.00 an issue.
The Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter is free. It has informative articles about all kinds of alternative energy. You can also access back to the first issue 1/05, which has a good article on passive solar.
Here's an overview of passive solar on the renewables site. And the Natural Home site has good info. They say concrete block dry-stacking is the most do-it-yourself friendly and economically sensible wall building method; you surface bond concrete masonary units ("CMU"s) for the home's walls.
Update:Very informative article about overhangs and how they are not effective in blocking solar heat in the summer.