Passive Solar Home Design
Save the nature! Save our environment! Save our planet! We see and hear this everywhere but wonder how we save it. Go hug a tree, cling on to it and chant “Please don’t cut it, save it”. Not exactly! Humor apart we know the earth’s resources are depleting and we need to preserve our environment. As designers and global citizens, it is our duty to save them. The introduction of passive solar home design plays a significant role in designing modern buildings and homes. Passive solar home design is a green design method of optimizing the use of sun’s energy, heat and light along with advantageous use of the climate, building location, orientation and design to create energy efficient and economically sustainable homes with increased quality of life.
Do we really need this?
Passive solar home design is getting popular day by day. The question is why?
Saves your money
Why spend money on paying electricity bills when you can eliminate the cooling and heating costs by using natural solar heat and energy.
Saves your planet
Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced and natural resources won’t deplete. Naturally, the quality of air that we breathe will improve.
Saves your health
Studies prove that lighting in the artificial environment affect human systems leading to a lack of concentration, poor health, and fatigue. Natural light produces higher productivity and worker satisfaction.
How does the passive solar design work?
Unlike active solar heating, the passive solar design does not require any mechanical systems. It simply works with a heating and cooling process during summer and winter. A passive solar home works by collecting the sun’s heat during the day, trapping it through materials and distributing it evenly at night. This is known as thermal mass. In conjunction with shading device, it allows the winter heat to enter the building and rejects the summer heat.
Principles for a successful passive solar home design
1- Site selection and orientation
Location, shape and orientation affect solar radiation and heat gain. Select a site that is protected from afternoon sun, invites cool winds and remains insulated from harsh winters.
2- Face south
Long axis of the building should face south to increase solar gain during winter and reduce heat in summer. Design spaces in a way that rooms are placed on the south side to maximize use of natural daylight.
3- Windows and shadings
Major opening can affect solar heat gain. Consider external shading devices such as eave overhangs and awnings or an appropriate roof. Windows on North and South elevation encourage diffused sunlight and good winds therefore this can be enhanced by installing fixed and movable shading device. Windows on east and west elevation should be covered with adjustable screens or curtains to prevent direct sunlight. Thermal mass or high-performance glazing on windows can prove to be advantageous.
4- Selection of materials
Well insulated ceramic tiles, concrete, brick and FSC certified timber, light paints and perforated cladding can prove beneficial to insulate the building, to store heat and balance fluctuating temperatures which is known as Thermal mass.
5- Cross ventilation
Cross ventilation is mandatory to sustain the indoor air quality, distribute it evenly and create a cooling effect on our bodies.
6- Go green
Surrounding landscape, vegetation, and indoor plants can aid in increasing passive solar design performance and provide comfortable homes during the cooling season and reduce heat during summer.