Passive Solar Energy
Passive solar energy is the way of making use of energy from the sun without the help of any mechanical equipment. It is the way of harnessing Sun’s energy by making use of the natural process.
Passive solar energy is the most efficient and least expensive way to entrap this vast renewable energy resource i.e. Sun. In this, the house is designed or constructed in a way to collect and store solar energy without fans, pumps or other mechanical devices. When designed properly, these approaches can contribute to the heating in winters, cooling in summers and providing daylight to any building. Passive solar energy methods are economical and great way to take advantage of clean and inexhaustible energy from the sun.
To entrap passive solar energy, buildings are designed according to the climate. This design involves using a building’s windows, walls, ceiling, floors, exterior building elements and landscaping to manage the heat generated by sun. The natural processes like reflections, radiation, conduction and convection are used for such a design. Passive solar home is the one which is designed to make use of passive solar energy. The basic design of solar passive home makes it more efficient than a traditional home.
Passive solar energy when used for day lighting creates beautiful, well-lit spaces while saving energy. The building is designed in such a way that natural light is used to illuminate building spaces in place of relying solely on electric lighting during the day. The natural light no doubt creates a pleasant, comfortable environment and above all reduces the air-conditioning costs too by eliminating the amount of heat generated by the light bulbs.
Lots of factors like Climate, geographical region, type of a building, its orientation are to be taken care of for designing a successfully day lit building. For efficiently using passive solar energy for day lighting, following points should be taken care of:
- Taking care of positioning, orientation and priorities of the places to be lit.
- Choosing right colors for interiors and exterior of the building, as painting interior surfaces with light colors will maximize reflection.
- Deciding the location, form and dimensions of the openings from which the daylight will pass.
- Placement and orientation of internal surfaces to reflect the daylight and also to offer protection from excessive light or glare.
Passive Solar Cooling:
For the places having hot and humid temperatures, buildings are designed to keep the passive solar energy and heat away from it. A most important strategy used in designing the buildings for passive solar cooling is to employ natural ventilation. To reduce the effect of solar radiation, shading devices, shading a building by natural vegetation or windows with special glazing are used. Making use of reflective materials in the walls and roof can be of big help. If your building is at initial stages, special consideration should be given to maximize ventilation while keeping in mind the direction of prevailing winds.
Passive Solar Heating:
For the places having cold temperatures, buildings are designed in the way to make the maximum use of passive solar energy by collecting, storing and distributing solar energy. For this type of buildings, the windows are correctly oriented, so that maximum of solar heat gets in to the home and once the heat enters the home the high performance windows with insulated frames, thermal mass and lot other techniques are used to trap the passive solar energy inside a building.
Passive solar energy applications, once incorporated in initial building design, adds very low extra cost to the building. But once installed, it helps a lot in reducing the operational costs and the equipments requirements. It is trustworthy, mechanically simple, and is a viable asset to a home.