Passive Solar Energy for Homes
Knowing the concepts of passive solar energy for homes is essential if we want to reduce our dependency on fossil burning and to cut down our domestic energy bills. Ancients built their homes in a way that utilized best the sun blessings. Facing the shortage in fossil fuels and the ever increasing price of fuel and electricity, going back to good old home construction principles will save money and eventually will help to save the planet
Passive Solar Energy for Homes Concepts
By passive solar energy we mean making best use of sun radiation for natural lighting and natural house warming. More can be done during the planning of new homes, substantial improvements can be applied to existing homes.
- Most of the day the sun is on the south direction of the house and above the horizon. Orient the broad side of the house to face south and locate the living section on the south wing of the house. Use large area windows on the south wing to get natural light and natural heating. Use skylights to get even more natural light from above
- Use solar windows shades to reduce the amount of sun radiation entering the house during the summer hot days. Use trees to create a more pleasant micro climate indoors and a pleasant place to stay outdoors. Correctly planted trees create a micro breeze and a shade in the summer. Evergreen trees are not desired in the winter when you need the sun, plant deciduous trees instead (trees that shed their leaves during the winter)
- Inspect for leaks through doors, windows skylights and wall minor crevices. You want to keep your home at comfortable temperature, usually not the same as the outdoor temperature. Leaks tend to transfer heat from the hotter zone to the cooler zone, this works against you by letting heat out in the winter and letting heat in during the summer
- A thermal mass is a material that absorbs heat from a heat source such as sun radiation during the day, and then releases it slowly during the night. High thermal mass materials are adobe, stone and concrete. High thermal mass floors and walls will reduce your winter night heating expenses. Ancient middle east homes were built with thick stone walls with large area windows. Carpets and area rugs are good insulators that you can use for warmer feet feeling on a hard floor however they don't have substantial thermal mass.
Free Air Moving
- Make it possible for air to move freely when you need the breeze cooling effect. Arrange for windows to face each other to allow free air flow if you open the windows
Large Area South oriented Windows
- Let the sun in through the south side of the house during winter, have proper window shades to reduce entering radiation during summer hot days
Active Solar Energy for Home
Solar energy can be converted into heat by using the greenhouse effect and directly into electrical power using the photovoltaic effect. The solar hot water heater is based on the conversion to heat effect while the residential solar power generator is based on the photovoltaic effect. View my page on active solar energy for homes for more details.
Links to more reading on active solar
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