Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design applications

Passive Solar Design is a design concept that uses sunlight as energy without any special machines or equipment.

Have you ever entered a room with lots of windows and noticed that it’s warmer than other areas of the building, even on a cold day? If so, you’ve experienced passive solar heating. When that window-filled room is also brighter than the rest of the house, you experience passive solar lighting. In both these cases, sunlight is being used as energy without any active systems like Solar PV or Solar Thermal. Greenhouses, sunrooms, and skylights are all types of passive solar systems.

This kind of solar is very cost effective when you design a passive solar energy building correctly.  The south side of a building always receives the most sunlight. Therefore, buildings designed for passive solar heating usually have large, south-facing windows. Materials that absorb and store the sun’s heat can be built into the sunlit floors and walls. The floors and walls will then heat up during the day and slowly release heat at night, when the heat is needed most.

Of course, too much solar heating and daylighting can be a problem during the hot summer months. Fortunately, there are many design features that help keep passive solar buildings cool in the summer. For instance, overhangs can be designed to shade windows when the sun is high in the summer. You may also want to plant trees to provide shade. Why? In the winter, the trees won’t have leaves, sunlight reaches the windows and warms the room. In the summer, when you don’t want that extra warmth, the trees will shade the windows and help keep the room cool.