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Passive Solar Home FAQ


Q: What is a passive solar home?
A: A passive solar home is a dwelling that takes advantage of a building’s site, climate and materials to minimize energy use.

Q: What site features are important for a passive solar home?
A: It’s important to have a clear view of the sun from the south side of the home.

Q: How does passive solar design work?
A: A passive solar home collects heat from the sun as it shines through south-facing windows and retains it in materials that store heat. A passive solar home also provides natural light year-round and ventilation to keep the home cool in warmer months.

Q: What features are integral to a passive solar home?
A: A passive solar home includes windows that face close to true south and are not shaded between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the heating season.

Material that provides thermal mass is another important component of a passive solar home. Concrete, brick, stone and tile absorb heat from sunlight during the heating season and help moderate the heat in the cooling season.

Once solar heat is in a passive solar home, it needs help being distributed to other areas of the house. Therefore, convection, conduction and radiation mechanisms are crucial to passive solar homes.

Control strategies—such as roof overhangs to provide shade during summer months, thermostats that signal fans to turn on, and vents and dampers that promote or restrict heat flow—can help regulate the temperature in a passive solar home.

Q: Can passive solar design strategies be applied to an existing home, or does it have to be new construction?
A: Although starting with a professionally designed passive solar home on an ideal parcel might provide the best results, passive solar design concepts can be applied to existing homes.

Posted: 10/15/2021 11:27:47 AM
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