Passive solar design is a method of adapting your home to utilize solar energy instead of non-renewable energy sources. It is generally a two-step process. First, adapt your living space to rely on your environment's natural temperature fluctuations and sunlight in order to more efficiently heat and cool your home. And secondly, collect and gather solar energy to power your newly efficient space.
The site of your home is very important for passive solar design. Some homes are in constant battle with their environments. Passive solar design is the opposite. It uses its environment to its advantage. You will ideally have a large south-facing wall with little or no shade. If your community is building a space, you should take the needs of solar energy into account as you find the best location to begin construction. If your home is already built this means you will have to scope out the land surrounding your building, possibly having to cut down trees or tear down any other obstructions to your sunlight. Keep in mind that in some areas, you actually have a legal right to sunlight.
Other than your access to natural light, the design of your home is vitally important in order to increase how efficiently you can use the sun’s energy. This means things like the positioning of windows and roof overhangs, as well as the materials that make up the structure of your living space. It can also mean transforming your roof into a green roof.
You will also need to transfer the solar energy throughout your home. This is usually done via convection, moving heat through air or water to where its needed. Design for your individual needs as well as the needs of your environment. Your home will need to be comfortable in every season, meaning that not only will the system transfer heat throughout the space in the winter, but it will also prevent your home from overheating in the summer.
These design elements, when properly calibrated, will result in a sustainable home that uses the solar energy you’ve collected to the fullest.