Passive solar homes use many different features to naturally heat and cool the home and save energy. To really benefit from passive solar power, you need to start at the beginning, and build the house from the ground up with passive solar design in mind. If you are thinking about building a passive solar home, check out these five ideas to talk to about with your home builder.  

Location and House Orientation Are Important

Before you do anything, you need to find the perfect location for your passive solar home. A good location will allow a lot of sun to hit the south side of your house. This will require you to think about the future too. The area may seem fine now, but what if someone is planning on building a tall building in the near future? You'll also need to decide how you want your house positioned. The south side of your home should be the longest part of your home, and you'll want to put the areas you expect to use the most there. Put the areas you use the least, such as the garage on the west and east side of the house.

The Windows Are Like Solar Collectors

The windows of your passive solar home will bring in a lot of heat, and you'll want the majority of them to be on that south facing wall. However, don't add too many windows because it can cause the house to get uncomfortably warm or cold. You'll also want to incorporate overhangs over the windows. These overhangs will block the summer sun, which is higher in the sky. During the winter, the lower sun can still enter the windows to warm your home.

Passive Solar Homes Need Materials That Absorb Heat

Another factor to consider when building your passive solar home is thermal mass. Basically, you want to use a lot of materials that absorb heat, such as stone, tile concrete and brick. During the winter, these materials absorb heat from the sun and push them into your home. During the summer, they absorb heat from inside your house and push them outside.

A Trombe Wall Can Also Help

One way to maximize heat gain is to install a Trombe wall on the south side of your house. Made from concrete or a similar material, this wall absorbs heat. A pane of glass is installed outside the wall, which keeps the heat trapped. The wall continues to collect heat throughout the day, and during the night, it expels it into the home. Placing an overhang above the Trombe wall prevents sun from hitting it during the summer, so your home doesn't get overheated.

Landscaping Can Help Keep You Cool

Another way you can help keep your home cool during the summer is to use landscaping to your advantage. Planting trees or other plants that block the sun from hitting the east and west sides of your house can help lower the internal temperature. If the trees are tall enough to shade your roof, they'll do an even better job of lowering the temperature. Just make sure anything you plant doesn't block the south side of your house, or you've completely defeated the purpose of having a well-exposed, big south-facing wall.  

Solar energy is the best way to heat or cool your home because it is free and the most energy-efficient option available. Passive solar homes need to be crafted from the ground up, but the result is an extremely energy-efficient home that stays cooler in the summer and hotter in the winter. For more information about building a passive solar home, contact a home builder in your area today. 

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