A solar house is a house designed to use solar radiation for heating and producing electric energy.
The term “solar house” refers to a house that gets energy for heating and providing domestic warm water from the heat of the sun throughout the year. The fact that there will be enough solar energy for the winter and early spring, too, demands a large heat storage, since at that time of the year the solar radiation is not sufficient enough for any kind of heating.
The passive solar house concept which is becoming more and more popular does exactly this.
Passive solar homes are designed to get their heating and cooling needs from the sun, wind, trees, or from the windows and the materials used on the walls and roof of the house and the way they interact with the environment. In short, as the name implies, you do not need to actively heat the house with these systems.
These systems intend to eliminate the need for boilers, heaters and cooling systems.
Passive solar homes use the followings to meet your heating or cooling needs:
- thermal storage or reflectance of the materials used in their walls, floor and roof;
- building's sun exposure (which depends on its shape, orientation and layout)
- natural ventilation (which depends on windows, windbreaks, orientation)
- proper shape and orientation of the house
- advanced windows, skylights and venting elements
- appropriate colors (of the walls and roof in order to effectively reflect or absorb light) and specific elements as
sunrooms,wing walls, trombe walls, water walls, roof ponds, diffusing glazing materials;
- other elements dependent on design, architecture and landscaping.
In other words, passive solar homes use a set of passive solar heating techniques and passive cooling techniques.
Passive solar techniques are mainly a group of designs to implement while you are projecting a new home. It's impossible to apply most of them on existing homes: you can't change the orientation and shape of a home, or the materials used in their walls. However, depending on the stage of your house (built or to be built) you can choose among them to most effectively turn your house into a passive solar house.