What Is Passive
Passive solar energy is using the sun's rays during the day to heat your home in the winter.
The solar energy is absorbed through windows and doors. In a new home design, windows can be oriented to the
south and west for maximum solar heat gain.
Because the Earth is round, the sun strikes the surface at different angles, ranging from 0° (just above the
horizon) to 90° (directly overhead). When the sun's rays are vertical, the Earth's surface gets all the energy
possible. The more slanted the sun's rays are, the longer they travel through the atmosphere, becoming more
scattered and diffuse. Because the Earth is round, the frigid polar regions never get a high sun, and because of
the tilted axis of rotation, these areas receive no sun at all during part of the year.
The Earth revolves around the sun in
an elliptical orbit and is closer to the sun during part of the year. When the sun is nearer the
Earth, the Earth's surface receives a little more solar energy. The Earth is nearer the sun when it
is summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the northern hemisphere. However, the presence
of vast oceans moderates the hotter summers and colder winters one would expect to see in the
southern hemisphere as a result of this difference.
However, during my custom home design I don't always recommend
using passive solar. The key is to build your home such that no hot or cold ever enters or escapes your
The perfect energy efficient home would have no openings. No doors or windows. Now we know that's
not possible? So when you do have doors and windows the key is to minimize these losses.
In my designs I typically do not tell a client they must remove windows or place them in a special
location. We design their home like they want it and THEN I teach them how to make it super energy
What is passive solar energy and how can it help you? Visit my
website below to learn more.
Are you building a home and looking for a custom, passive solar house plan? Visit my home deisgn site at
www.rye-homes.com for more information.