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Passive Solar Building Design Basics

July 30, 2013 - 3:20pm


The difference between a passive solar home and a conventional home is design. Passive solar homes and other buildings are designed to take advantage of the local climate. Passive solar design—also known as climatic design—involves using a building's windows, walls, and floors to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. Learn how passive solar design techniques work.

Direct Gain

Direct gain is the process by which sunlight directly enters a building through the windows and is absorbed and temporarily stored in massive floors or walls.

Indirect Gain

Indirect gain is the process by which the sun warms a heat storage element—such as a Trombe wall—and the heat is later distributed to the interior space by convection, conduction, and radiation.

Isolated Gain

Isolated gain involves the collection of heat in one area—such as a sunspace on the south side of a house—and used in another.

Roof Overhangs

Roof overhangs are used to shade windows, walls, and doors from direct solar radiation.

More Information

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