You want to tap into solar power, but you may be a bit wary of the investment required for solar panels. Have you considered passive solar energy? It provides easy renewable solutions without the need for expensive equipment and installation.
All you need to do is consider the relation between your living space and the sun. Its easy to to make your place a solar house, tapping into passive heating in winter months, and cooling when the temperature rises.
Basically, when you design for passive solar, you employ shading during summer months and allow the sun to shine in and warm living spaces during the winter. Energy is saved when you use less heating and cooling. No need for fans or pumps to circulate air within your home.
Think that passive solar energy is a new innovation? Think again! Cave persons used the approach to keep cool during summer, and then to trap heat to stay warm when the snows started to fall. You can also see solar home design in greenhouses. The design of these structures traps radiant heat, which warms the interior.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll want to have southern facing windows to allow as much sun in during the winter as possible. But in warmer climates, position your largest windows facing west or east, and then put up awnings to allow for shading and cooling.
If you are building your home, or simply remodeling/redecorating, consider these simple solar home design tips:
- Plant trees on the north and west sides of the property to buffer from chilling winds
- Overall landscaping with trees and shrubs can provide shade and cooling during summer months
- Position “warm” rooms like the kitchen and laundry room on the north side of the property to provide heat where your home gets coldest
- Consider installing drapes or shade cloths on windows to both block the sun through the summer, and trap heat inside (insulation) over winter
- Open windows over summer nights (and definitely in cool mornings) to circulate cooler air throughout your home
You don’t need solar panels to use energy from the sun to your advantage! Heating and cooling with passive solar homes can – quite literally – be a breeze.