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residential passive solar design

Brief Summary: In this video we define the passive solar design. Passive solar design is a building design and construction technique that uses sunlight to heat and other natural processes to cool a home. On average, enough power in the form of sunlight falls on a roof and exterior walls of a home to provide for all it's heating needs year round.

Keywords: passive solar design, thermal mass, Trombe wall, insolation, direct gain, indirect gain, isolated gain, natural convection, forced convection, specific heat capacity, absorption, water wall.

Detailed Description: Passive solar design incorporates features in your home that harness the sun's low rays in winter and deflect the sun's high rays in summer to naturally warm and cool the interior. A home's orientation, elevation, room layout, materials, and surrounding outdoor landscaping all impact on its ability to operate as a passive solar home. Unlike active solar heating systems, passive solar design does not involve the use of sophisticated mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans, or electrical controls, to move collected solar heat. Instead, it incorporates the use of windows, walls, and floors to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and block solar heat in the summer. Passive solar homes range from those heated almost entirely by the sun to those with south-facing windows that provide some fraction of the heating load, to those that use solar thermal panels to boost heat capture.

Passive solar technique fall into three general categories: direct gain, indirect gain and isolated gain. The two key requirements for all three techniques are south facing windows (glazing) and a thermal mass. The glazing permits solar radiation in the form of sunshine to enter the house. The sunlight is converted to heat via a process called absorption. The thermal mass stores the heat and releases it back into the home after sunset. If properly planned and built, a passive solar house can maintain comfortable interior temperatures year round.

Passive techniques also help cool a home through the processes of convective cooling, radiant cooling, and evaporative cooling. In dry arid climates such as the southwest, the cool night air can be stored in a thermal mass to provide cooling during day. For more information you can also read our passive solar design guide


availabel soon screen

Passive Solasr Wall in isolated design
Thermal mass (dark colored masonry wall) in a passive design can store heat energy for use after sunset

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