Green Energy - Passive Solar Energy

Greenhouse - Green Energy - Passive Solar Energy

Passive Solar EnergyPassive Solar Energy works from using radiant heat directly from the sun and converting into energy. Every building has a south facing side; therefore every building has potential to produce passive solar energy. To capture the most passive solar energy you must have windows on the south facing side of your home. If you have made the green decision to incorporate passive solar energy to operate a good portion of your home or building you must begin the planning process early in the stages of the building process. You should consider the south facing windows early in the planning process so they can be integrated into the overall architecture of the home.

Placement of Window

Some may think the more windows on the south facing side the better, some even make a whole wall a window. This is wrong. It is actually one of the worst misconceptions when trying to create passive solar energy. It is the strategic planning for the placement of the windows that will be the most efficient. You want to create sun and warmth during certain winter months and shade and cool during certain summer months. Homes that have better insulation in exterior walls and have a successful passive solar design will need fewer windows. The guidelines are traditionally 8-12 percent of the floor area in rooms with south facing windows for a successful passive solar energy process. This usually equates to about 2 or 3 extra windows which are strategically placed to create comfort and energy efficiency.

Shading Options

You may also think that you will not want to obstruct the window at all. However, you will want to do that exact thing, but controlled obstruction is the key. You want to use fixed overhangs or landscaping. Shading certain portions of the window during the summer months will help to keep the sun from cooking the inside of your home. These dates will help you dictate the times when shade is needed and when shade is not needed:

  • December 21 - You want nothing blocking your south facing windows on this day. This day is Winter solstice which is the beginning of winter; hence you will want to keep your house as warm as possible.
  • June 21 - This is the summer solstice, you want to do the opposite. The windows on the south facing side should be shaded completely during the day when the sun is at its highest point.
  • During the spring and fall months you want to have a mix of sun and shade.

Landscaping is a wonderful option for shading your windows. Landscaping will tend to die off in the winter, exposing more sun to the windows. Flourish in the summer, shading the sunlight from the windows. You may also want to use landscape to shade east and west windows as well because these walls are the greatest source of unwanted heat in the summer.

Using passive solar energy is a wonderful electricity alternative. You will not only be saving on energy bills but making your home green worthy as well, which in the long run will be helping our whole planet out. One less light bulb used everyday will add up to a major drop in energy consumption if we can get everyone on board. Strategically placing your south facing windows will add to your green home without even noticing. Before you know it you will not need lights at all during the day.