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Passive Solar Heating

In many climates a house can be heated to comfortable temperatures by using nothing more than the sun. 

The simplest method is by allowing sunlight to shine directly into rooms. Sunlight is absorbed by the floors and walls of the room which heat up the air in the room. A wall built with thermal mass is even better because it stores the heat, slowly releasing it during the night. 

passive heating
The sun energy heats up the floor which then heats up the room..
This principle is used in the mud domes on Lotan's EcoCampus during the cold months to keep warm.

Use south facing windows (in the northern hemisphere) because they allow the sunlight to directly enter into the rooms. In order to gain sufficient heat the windows need to be unobstructed in relation to the solar path which in the winter is low.

The windows need to be high performance insulated windows in order to reduce heat loss. The windows have excellent seals so that hot air does not escape and allow cold air to infiltrate.

windowShutters
Sturdy, double paned windows are essential to passively heating or cooling your home.
Large shutters are also important to controlling how much light is allowed inside.

During the night the building looses heat through the walls, floor and ceiling. The exterior of the building needs to be insulated to reduce this loss of heat.  Many natural materials such as cellulose, wool, soy foam, straw bales and recycled cotton can be used. 

shadow

Passive solar heating can be so effective you may see the windows open on a sunny winter day even if it's freezing cold outside.

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Creative Commons License
This work by Center for Creative Ecology, Kibbutz Lotan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.kibbutzlotan.com.