A well designed solar energy system is the place to start saving money on your electric bills. But it doesn’t stop there. There are passive solar features that can be retrofitted into your current home as part of a remodeling project.
There is growing interest in creating homes and other types of buildings that are easier and more efficient to maintain at comfortable temperatures so that reduces energy use and more saving is possible. If you are willing to make and investment and a commitment to using more passive solar energy, consider creating a sunroom or a sun space along that wall of your home.
A sunroom or a sunspace is an enclosed area designed to capture and utilize sunlight. In the past, such spaces were commonly used for additional casual living space. Today, homeowners are seeing these spaces as a means of capturing passive solar along south facing walls. When carefully designed for this purpose, sunrooms produce heat that is vented back into the primary residence.
An architect or designer who is a specialist in this type of project can design a system that uses vents and other air movement techniques to move the warm air from the sunspace into the interior of your home. In the ideal situation, air circulation is accomplished without mechanical devices. However, if that proves to be inadequate or impractical, fans and other methods can circulate air as needed.
The passive solar captured during cold winter months is a benefit, but keep in mind that the space will capture heat year-round. In the summer months, an awning, shades, etc., will need to be installed to combat the effect of sun on south facing glass. It is also important to consider factors such as humidity and how the space will be used so that appropriate features are included in the design. For example, using a few plants in the room is recommended, but too many will raise the humidity and reduce or even eliminate the passive solar potential of the room.
The use of solar energy is being improved year after year with the advancements in technology. Scientists and researchers are discovering new ways to use solar power to the fullest.
As the technology continues to improve, there is little doubt that solar will offer more opportunity for improving the efficiency and comfort of our homes.
A solar consultation is the first step to taking advantage of the savings available.
Photo (c) aNdreas Schindl