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Passive Solar Design
Since the beginning of civilization, humans have made use of passive solar design techniques - The use of the sun's energy for the heating and
cooling of spaces. Taking advantage of natural energy characteristics in building materials and air created by exposure to the sun.
That sounds more complicated then it is. Humans noticed that hot air rises. By creating operable escape openings high in a space you create
a cooling draft, or natural air conditioning via the "thermal tower" effect. Humans noticed that it takes the sun a long time to heat up &
penetrate heavy thick stone masses. For this reason (and in the absence of modern insulation) you made your walls thick. At the same time,
in colder climates, they noticed that heavy stone masses in front of South facing openings stored the sun's energy during the day, and
released it at night, when you needed it to stay warm. Clerestory windows high in spaces added hours of free natural day light.
Passive solar design is about mindfulness, and applying common sense in the design & lay-out of buildings.
- Strategic placement of windows in exterior walls and roofs.
- Maximize natural lighting versus electrical lighting
- Minimize solar heat gain in summer with strategic placement of (operable) shade elements
- Maximize solar heat gain in winter for free heating
- Use of thermal mass (heavy masonry floors or walls) to store solar heat gain (free heating in winter)
Why don't we try mindful passive solar design again? Revive "forgotten technology" with the aid of modern technology.
This is the true sustainability we pursue….
Passive solar design - simplified
Energy use chart for homes - 56% = heating & cooling
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