Passive Solar Design Basics

Plan a comfortable, energy-efficient home that saves we income on heating and cooling with these pacifist solar pattern basics.

Solar Living Room

Passive solar pattern starts with a elementary thought that we can build a residence that uses natural heating, cooling, movement and daylighting. These homes need most reduction hoary fuel appetite to feverishness and cold than required homes do, that is improved for a sourroundings and saves pacifist solar homeowners money. Passive solar homes are gentle to live in since they are designed to illuminate feverishness in winter, say a gentle year-round temperature, fan naturally, and let in copiousness of healthy light.


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I became meddlesome in tolerable design, privately pacifist solar design, as a immature architect — first while operative in a Peace Corps in Africa, and after while operative professionally in New Mexico. The sum of any sold pacifist solar home pattern count on a meridian and a specifics of a site. Over a march of my 35-year career, I’ve designed a accumulation of pacifist solar houses via a nation regulating opposite configurations of south-facing windows, sunrooms and other pacifist solar pattern features. (For specifics on one of them, review “The Western Solar Farmhouse: A Passive Solar Design” nearby a finish of a article) What follows are a beliefs used to pattern any pacifist solar home.

Passive Solar Design: House Orientation and Window Placement

The initial care for optimizing pacifist solar appetite is to name a residence site with adequate solar exposure. For solar heating in winter, a good magnitude of solar bearing is to have during slightest 4 hours of approach solar benefit on a winter solstice. The best course is to have a “solar” side of a residence face within 15 degrees of loyal south. In climates where summer feverishness is a vital concern, it’s a good thought to aim a solar windows a small easterly of south to get morning object in winter and equivocate a heated western object in a comfortable season.

Typically, we would locate a day-use rooms, such as a vital room or family room, on a south apportionment of a home’s building devise to concede a biggest volume of solar appetite to dig these bedrooms on winter days. This blueprint also allows we to take advantage of a object and perspective of a outdoors.

The “shell” of a residence is stoical of extraneous insulated walls and “glazing,” or windows. In a required home, a window area is equally distributed on all 4 sides of a home, or a infancy of a window area might be focused on a instruction with a best view. For a pacifist solar design, one would locate some-more of a window area on a south side, that has a best solar access. Some windows would be placed on a easterly and west sides of a residence for daylighting and cross-ventilation with usually a few windows to a north.