Passive Solar – Because VA is a heating dominated climate this is critical in saving energy that energy collection through passive solar be incorporated in the overall design or energy upgrade of any house being considered. Passive solar design takes advantage of a building’s site, climate, and materials to minimize energy use.
Orientation – The proper orientation of a home would be always be toward the sun. This simple science has been practiced since the earliest civilizations and followed our own decedents across the frontiers of this country. Only with the advent of inexpensive heating fuels has this standard practice been abandoned and we now see our homes and buildings orientated to the street. Abandoning the free energy generated by the sun each and every day.
Design Makes A Difference – A well-designed passive solar home reduces heating and cooling loads through energy-efficiency strategies, which means lower heating and cooling costs. Using passive solar design to heat and cool your home can be both environmentally friendly and cost effective. In many cases, your heating costs can be reduced to less than half the cost of heating a typical home!
Free Heating & Reduced Cooling Systems – A passive solar home collects heat as the sun shines through south-facing windows and retains it in materials that store heat, known as thermal mass. Well-designed passive solar homes also provide daylight all year and comfort during the cooling season through carefully designed overhangs and reflective coatings on windows, exterior walls, and roofs.
To be effective, a passive solar home needs some basic elements that work together:
- Properly oriented windows
- Thermal mass
- Distribution mechanisms
- Control strategies
General Window Glazing – This proper glass specification as well as proper shading and insulation of the windows could improve the homes operation of heating and cooling by 20%. Specific windows need solar glazing to take advantage of the sun while others on the north side need to be glazed to retain heating and cooling. A qualified window company needs to be included in the window specs to ensure these critical features are included in the design.
Solar Shades – Inclusion throughout the house would be very helpful in reflecting the heat away from the large amount of windows in the summer and allowing sun to flow into the house in the winter months. These shades need to be insulated and have a reflective layer into their design. They are more expensive than normal shades but if they are installed in a track or with the use of magnets they can also be used for security to keep people from looking into the house when they are drawn.