4 Elements Of A Passive Solar Home Plan

Posted by Eugene Stoltzfus Architects on October 7th, 2019

If you’re building a passive solar home, you should know that windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reduce or reject solar heat in the summer. This type of design is specifically called passive solar design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it does not involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.

The purpose of building a passive solar home is to achieve the right amount of solar access, which fundamentally means that it should be enough to provide warmth during cooler months but prevent overheating in summer. This is also done through a combination of location and orientation, room layout, window design, shading, and more. Let’s briefly take a look at each of these elements of passive home design!
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Orientation is the positioning of a home with seasonal changes in the sun’s path as well as prevailing wind patterns. In a passive solar home, the sun is used as a source of free home heating by letting winter sun in and keeping the unwanted summer sun out. This is also done with relative ease on northern elevations by using horizontal shading devices to exclude high angle summer sun and admit low angle winter sun.
The Site
It is possible to achieve good passive solar performance at minimal cost if the site has the right characteristics. When buying land, choose a site that can accommodate north-facing daytime living areas that flow to outdoor spaces with similar orientation. You can look for sites that allow maximum exposure to cooling breezes and designs that draw or funnel them through the home.
Insulation is not a source of heat, it rather acts as a barrier to heat flow. It helps in reducing heat loss in winter to keep the house warm, and reduce heat-gain in summer to keep the house cool. When you think about insulation, it’s significant that you think of all the following areas: Ceiling, under the floor, walls, windows.
Window Design
In the fabric of a home, windows are probably complex and interesting elements. They let in light and fresh air and also offer views that connect interior living spaces with the outdoors. However, windows can be a major source of unwanted heat gain in summers and heat loss in winters. In a passive solar home, the use of energy-efficient windows makes your home more comfortable, dramatically reduce your energy costs and help to create a brighter, cleaner and healthier environment.
There you have it! These are some of the elements of passive solar home design. If you’re planning to build an active solar home, look for a good architect of an active solar house in Virginia.

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Eugene Stoltzfus Architects

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Eugene Stoltzfus Architects
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