Use Passive Solar Windows to Capture Energy

With green energy solutions being implemented by many home owners in order to cut high energy bills, different techniques use nature’s natural resources such as the sun are becoming more and more popular. One of these methods to harness the power of the sun and makes use of its energy is called, passive solar design.

Passive solar windows on a south facing building.

Passive solar designs is best implemented when you’re constructing a new building or home because solar windows should be placed in ideal locations in order to obtain the utmost light from the sun. Of course you can also choose to re-model your home to make room for passive solar windows as needed if you decide to take advantage of this method to use solar power. Just about every part of your home can be used to collect solar energy. From the windows to the walls, even your floors can be designed to catch the energy they received from the sun through your windows and these are all ways to passively collect solar power into your home.

When it comes to using solar windows to gather heat into your home, there are some key principles. Unlike, active solar heating, passive solar windowing systems do not use mechanical and electrical devices to gather and move the solar heat into and around the home, but by placing correctly aligned windows in your home to direct the suns heat in the winter time and minimize its intensity in the summer time, you are creating a passive solar window environment.

There are three main principles that govern all passive solar window designs. The first of the three is solar radiation. This solar, or thermal radiation, occurs by passing through the passive solar windows (look for Low-E glasses to use) and is the solar radiation is the source of the heat. Next is convection which has to do with the way in which heated air moves within, between and outside the house. This also has to do with the angle of the windows and the ways in which they direct the light into the home. Then there is conduction which deals with the transfer of the heat from warm areas to the cold areas as the temperature attempts to balance itself naturally and equally throughout the home.

One of the keys to passive solar window design is the convection. This is also considered as the angling of the suns rays into the home to maximize the use of the energy. The sun moves in predictable patterns across the sky every day. In the winter time, the sun is considered to be “lower” in the sky than in the summer, and it is closer to the southern horizon. This is very important in the design of passive solar windows system. Windows that face south have the most sun exposure a window can get. This can also be a problem though in the summer when the sun is considered to be at its “highest” point because you will receive extreme amounts of sun coming in, but this problem is easily correct by building windows overhangs which cover the the windows and do not allow the summer sun to directly enter in through the windows. When designing a passive solar window system, make sure your home is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat loss and begin enjoying lower winter electricity bills. -AMANDA JACKSON

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