Importance of Passive Solar Building Designs


Passive solar designs for buildings are somewhat different than traditional designs, but the purpose of taking advantage of solar energy remains the same. These designs help enhance the heating or cooling inside the building without utilizing other energy sources. The main goal of passive solar building design is to lessen overall consumption of energy. This means that you’re trying to maximize the ability of the sun to heat the building during winter. On the other hand, it also enhances cooling in winter.

In places like Canada, passive solar building designs are more suitable to carter the need of energy, and reduce dependence upon other energy sources. If you want to have a design for your home, Solar Brokers Canada would provide you a lot of details on that. Besides, the solar contractor will take you through a wide variety of models and systems for your convenience.

Passive Solar Fraction

A building’s passive solar fraction is a measure of how much of the heating the Sun is responsible for. A passive solar fraction of 15%, which is considered sustainable, means that the 15% of a building’s energy demand for heating is taken care of by the Sun.

Then there is the problem of retrofitting compared to building from scratch. Looking into retrofitting an old building to enhance passive solar fraction often offers excellent benefits and should not be overlooked, but the greatest gains are made early in the planning stages.

Greenhouse Vs. Passive Solar Designs

Greenhouses are excellent examples of passive solar building designs. Their walls and roofs are made of glass or plastic that enhance lighting and heating of the greenhouse. But as they are meant for plants promoting their growth on places where natural climate doesn’t allow it, greenhouse are not suitable for human beings. This is the reason why passive solar building designs are quite different from greenhouse. They are more complex and detailed.

Design Strategies

Let’s look at some of the best design strategies as offered by solar installers GTA:

  1. The orientation of a building is crucial. You want the rooms where you spend the majority of your time in (living room, kitchen etc.) to face the direction of the Sun. This will both enhance heating and natural sunlight.
  2. Smart shading enables us to keep the sunlight from entering the house during the summer when we want cooling. The solar trajectory is much higher in this season. The image below illustrates this concept perfectly.
  3. Good insulation stops heat flow in and out of the building and helps to regulate indoor temperatures.
  4. Ventilation should also be a part of passive solar building designs. A solar chimney can be used to help natural ventilation and reduce energy demand.
  5. Thermal mass or heat storage is another important aspect of smart passive solar building designs. Implementing trombe walls, ventilated concrete floors and water walls are some of the common efforts to store heat from the day and slowly release it when the Sun isn’t shining. You want the thermal mass as close to the center of the building.