Finding an architect familiar with solar heating

Q What is the best way to find in my area the architects most conversant with solar heating and cooling methods for a proposed largely glass residence? Mrs. Gabron Sibley Atlanta, Ga.

Find the listing for American Institute of Architects' local chapter in the yellow pages under ''Architects.'' The institute has members who specialize in solar home design. Interview two or three such architects and then inspect their work. Talk to their former clients and the contractors who erected the buildings.

You decide which architect is best suited to handle your particular solar-designed dwelling.

My father once offered solid advice when he said, ''Don't hire anyone you can't trust; but after hiring them, trust them.'' To him, that didn't mean a blind trust alone. You must still do your own homework and provide feedback to the architect concerning his progressive design submittals.

The most satisfactory set of plans and specifications is a joint venture between a perceptive architect and an intelligent owner who is aware of his needs.

The key challenge of the architect is to control the design within the owner's construction budget. Commit the architect to a maximum construction budget by proper wording in the design agreement. A predetermined maximum construction budget not only disciplines the architect's tendency toward supererogatories, but controls the owner's impulse toward excesses as well.

With the cost of utilities spiraling, you are indeed wise to design your proposed home by using an architect who is experienced and familiar with solar amenities.

One teacher declares it's permissible to occasionally use a big word provided it's understandable from the text. Any architect who knows the definition of ''supererogatories,'' please raise his right eyebrow!

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