Passive solar design involves designing your home in such a way that the warmth of the sun heats your home during the cool months but is unable to reach the interior of your home during the warm months, keeping your home at a constant temperature year round. Many passive homes are designed with a modern style, but passive heating and cooling has been used for centuries and can be applied to any basic home design in the following three ways.
Increase Your Southern Exposure
The simplest way to ensure passive solar heating in your home is to make sure you have adequate southern exposure. This means that the longest sides of your home should face north and south, with several large windows on the south side and only a few small windows on the north side. This allows sunlight to enter your house during the winter months.
If you cannot arrange your home to face south, the next best arrangement is southeast, as your house will warm up during the morning and, with proper thermal mass, stay warm throughout the day.
Install Adequate Thermal Mass
Thermal mass consists of objects in your home that absorb heat when hit with direct sunlight and then slowly give off heat throughout the rest of the day and night. Dense, heavy items such as stone, concrete, and brick have the highest thermal mass. Light items such as wood and carpet have very little thermal mass.
Increasing your use of ceramic tile on floors and walls will increase the thermal mass in your home. Additionally, adding a stone or brick fireplace or other decorative stone items can be a good way to increase thermal mass in particular rooms.
Make the Most of Your Roof
Houses that are designed to hold heat well during the winter often have the potential to overheat during the summer. To prevent this, it is important to protect your home from the summer sun. Simply extending the overhang of your roof on the south and east sides of your home can prevent overheating during the warmer months.
While passive solar design can decrease your energy bills and make your home more comfortable throughout the entire year, it does not have to be the main focus of your home design. Almost any style and design can have simple passive features added to gain the benefits of solar design without changing the overall look and feel of the home. For further assistance, contact home design professionals, such as those from Thurber Home Plans home design.