Passive Solar Heating Works Even In The Winter

by on April 26, 2008

Most of us don’t live in Southern California where they have climate instead of weather. Because of that our winter heating costs can be astronomical. Who doesn’t want to save energy and money? You get the cachet of energy efficiency in these green-conscious times and you save a little extra money to use however you want. One thing people seldom consider when it comes to alternative home heating is the use of passive solar heating.

The sun’s power to heat is high, even on the very cold winter days. If the days were longer during this time the sun would melt the snow. Wouldn’t it be great to use the sun’s power to heat your home without having to redo your home completely?

Here is where the Trombe wall comes in. This wall is made of a thermal mass (such as concrete or stone) that can store the heat built up during the day, and then release it slowly throughout both the night and day. On the outside the wall is insulated by a glass pane and an airspace, thus preventing the loss of heat to the outside during the night. A shade rests above the glass that allows direct light exposure during low winter sun, but acts as a protection during prolonged high summer sun heat, this dual action helps keep cooling bills in the summer low also.

Unless you are doing major renovations to your home, it may not be easy to retrofit your house for passive solar heating. However designing a custom home is very expensive, and so is implementing other energy efficient measures, such as radiant heating. The advantage of passive solar is that once installed, it costs almost nothing to use as opposed to the other alternatives.

Consider also the fact that the concept of the Trombe wall is a 19th century invention that was popularized in the 1960’s and so has been designed into a number of existing homes. So when you’re looking for that new, energy efficient home, know that designs of yesteryear can still be green.

The ideas being pushed in the mainstream do work, but people have been looking for ways to save money for years. It’s just now that people are becoming more environmentally conscious and the cost of heating has risen so much that we are starting to look back at the clever solutions like passive solar heating that our ancestors used to save scarce resources, and use them instead to help save the planet.

Most of us have to worry about the large costs of heating our homes during the winter. Who doesn’t want to save energy and money? One thing people seldom consider when it comes to alternative home heating is the use of passive solar heating. The Trombe wall is made of concrete or stone and stores the sun’s heat energy to be released gradually throughout your home. It is insulated on the outside to prevent heat loss, and can even lower your cooling costs in the summer low as well. Retrofitting your home may be a major renovation, but well worth the investment.

– Ryan McCall

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: