Heat from the sun is free and often plentiful, the trick is getting it into your house and keeping it there.

Passive solar design

Passive solar design uses the sun to warm the house. Good solar design will help you save on your energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Passive solar design incorporates several basic principles:

  • Optimal orientation of the house and its living spaces with respect to the sun so that the house captures as much free solar energy as possible where and when its needed
  • Good window design and placement; for example using larger north-facing windows (in the southern hemisphere) to help capture the sun and smaller south-facing windows to reduce heat loss
  • Use of building materials such as concrete, stone or tile on sun-exposed floors and walls to capture and store the sun’s heat within the house and release it later when its required
  • Use of adequate levels of insulation, including double glazing, to conserve the heat once its captured within the house

Building a new house is the best opportunity to incorporate passive solar design features. Such a house will save you a lot of money with little or no extra upfront cost.

However, if you are renovating, this is also a good time to consider upgrading your home’s passive solar design features. These include adding a conservatory, adding insulation, moving trees, double-glazing, or changing window size and placement.

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