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4 Reasons Why Passive Solar Design Reduces Heating Costs

In terms of reducing carbon emissions, energy efficiency is by far the best way homeowners can diminish their carbon footprint. Energy efficiency limits the excess energy we all use on a daily basis, so we don't have to create as much to meet the demand. When combined with solar power and smart architectural design, homeowners can build or remodel their homes to meet passive solar design standards. And while there are many benefits to passive energy methods, reducing heating costs is chief among them.

Here's a breakdown of 4 reasons why you should consider passive solar design for lowering your heating bill in the winter and cooling bill in summer:

1) It's All About Letting In Sunshine

Obviously, the whole point of passive energy design is to be... well, passive. So, it's no surprise that much of passive solar design centers on implementing special glass in windows and increasing window size on the southern facing sides of a building. Why southern? In the northern hemisphere, the sun will always be moving from east to west but will always be more on the south side of a home than the north side.

The type and amount of glazing on the windows makes a difference when it comes to possessing the highest solar gain coefficient. The higher that coefficient is, the more that glass can retain heat from all that solar radiation streaming in. Let the sun shine.

2) On Second Thought, It's Also About Shading

Then again, it's not all about letting the sun in, especially if it's a 90º F day. Every homeowner knows the toll that A/C can take on your electricity bill. That's why you need to get shading for those special windows you just bought. Roof hangovers achieve the right amount of shading by measuring how the winter and summer suns hit your home.

During the summer, the sun is higher in the sky at noon than it is in the winter, so by adjusting the awning's size, builders can reduce the heat transferred into a home during the summer months. No more melting hot days again!

3) Air Out All Your Heating And Cooling Problems

Another great way to regulate the heat in your home throughout the summer months is implementing proper ventilation. Especially in coastal communities, nighttime ocean breeze helps cool things down outside, and by harnessing that cool wind, homes get naturally cooled down.

4) Density Plus Dark Color Equals Hearth-Like Heat

Finally, it comes down to the building material itself. A Trombe wall is a 6-18 inch, dark-colored wall that helps insulate and heat homes through storing heat throughout the day. With Trombe walls and well-insulated walls, your home will stay warm all winter long.

You can learn more about Passive Solar Design at Williams College:

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