House Energy Site

Passive solar techniques & home heating

Passive solar techniques do not rely on solar panels. Their goal is not to produce electricity or to heat water. Their goal is to achieve thermal comfort by protecting the house from the elements, or by getting solar heat gains, by proper orientation of the house, and by using design and architectural features (shape of the house, windows, overhangs…).

Passive Houses: LandscapePassive Solar Design vs. PassiveHaus (Passive Houses)

In a strict sense, passive solar techniques do not require pumps, fans or electronic controls.

And we shouldn't confuse passive solar with passive solar houses (PassiveHaus), a special type of low-energy homes, relying on very high levels of insulation (super-insulation) and on a rigid set of construction standards.

Though passive solar houses (PassiveHaus) may use passive solar techniques, they involve a lot more.

See: Passive Houses vs. Passive Solar Principles

See also:
Insulation Guide
German Style Super-Insulated Passive Houses

Passive Houses: LandscapePassive solar techniques

Passive solar is not an off-the-shelf solution.

Buildings should be properly sized and properly sited and oriented to the sun (or protected from it); they should also have convenient shape and layout (compact shapes are advantageous in cold climates).

Home orientation, Shape and Layout
Landscaping for cooling

Architectural features home landscapingConstruction Materials, Orientation, Shape and Layout of the House

Architectural features are very important for a solar passive approach.

They include elements such as the size of the windows on the different walls; overhangs, shading and landscaping, or floors and walls designed to store solar heat gains (high thermal mass floors and walls)

Thermal Mass Principles
Thermal Mass Guide

A good tree in the sunny side of the house provides shade and evapotranspirationPassive Solar and Landscaping

Passive solar design involves proper landscape design, to protect the building from cold winds, or to get breezes and shade during the summer.

Landscaping for Energy Savings.


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