Passive Solar Building Design to Enhance Your Home

Posted on: 7 October 2016

Your home is supposed to be your primary shelter against the changing weather elements. Nevertheless, it is not simply about having a roof over your head. The building design of the home can also take advantage of the environment to ensure the structure is sustainable as well as energy efficient. One way of making the most of the environment to suit your needs would be through passive solar building design. As the name suggests, a passive design will not make use of any active technology. Instead, the way the building has been designed is what will help in keeping it warmer during the cold months and cooler during the sweltering months. The following are some of the passive solar building designs you could consider for your new home build.

Orientation of the structure 

Building orientation refers to how the house is situated in relation to the sun. If you would like to make the most of the natural sunlight in your home, you should opt for a north-facing residence. This can create enhanced illumination in your home thereby decreasing your need for artificial lighting during the day.

If you are concerned about radiant heat, you should have your home builders incorporate shade at strategic places around the home. The shade should be able to shelter your home from the hot summer sun, while still being able to let the winter sun permeate the residence and warm it.

Lastly, you can also consider spacial zoning when contemplating the orientation of your home. This means assessing what you will use the different rooms in your house and determine their location based on the orientation of the home.

Thermal mass of the structure

The types of materials that you use to construct your home will determine the thermal mass of the structure. For instance, bricks have a propensity of absorbing heat throughout the day. This makes them suitable for locations that get especially chilly at night, as the bricks will then release this absorbed heat. Hence, a decrease in dependence on heating throughout the night.

It should be noted that bricks would not be an ideal choice if you live in an area with typically hot climatic conditions, as your home will be perpetually hot. If you do live in an area that experiences hot weather for a significant amount of the year, then you should consider building materials such as timber that have a low thermal mass.