Passive Solar Design

Topics: Passive solar building design, Sun, Passive solar Pages: 28 (4415 words) Published: February 25, 2013

For more information, contact:
Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy
Clearinghouse (EREC)
Or visit the BTS Web site at
Or visit the Sustainable
Buildings Industry Council
Web site at

One of the best ways to design an energyefficient house featuring passive solar techniques is to use a computer simulation
program. Energy-10 is a PC-based design tool
that helps identify the best combination of
energy-efficient strategies, including

10am - 5pm

NAHB Research Center

5pm - 11pm

U.S. Department of Energy's
Oak Ridge National
Buildings Technology Center
Factsheets on insulation are
available from the Energy
Efficiency and
Renewable Energy
Clearinghouse (EREC)
NOTICE: Neither the United
States government nor any
agency thereof, nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty,
express or implied, or assumes
any legal liability or responsibility
for the accuracy, completeness,
or usefulness of any information,
apparatus, product, or process
disclosed. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect
those of the United States government or any agency thereof.

selection is RESFEN. Access these and other
passive solar design tools from the DOE’s
Office of Building Technology, State, and
Community Program’s website.


Written and prepared for
the U.S. Department of
Energy by:

Southface Energy Institute

Increase energy efficiency and comfort in homes
by incorporating passive solar design features

Sunlight can provide ample heat, light, and

Or visit the Efficient Window
Collaborative Web site at

5:00 pm to 11:00 pm
As the sun sets, it stops supplying heat to the
home. However, a substantial amount of heat
has been stored in the thermal mass. These
materials release the heat slowly into the passive
solar rooms, keeping them comfortable on most
winter evenings. If temperatures fall below the
comfort level, supplemental heat is needed.
11:00 pm to 6:30 am
The home owner sets the thermostat back at
night, so only minimal back-up heating is
needed. Energy-efficient features in the home
minimize heat losses to the outside.

11pm - 6:30am

6:30am - 10am

6:30 am to 10:00 am
The cool early morning hours are the toughest
for passive solar heating systems to provide
comfort. The thermal mass has usually given up
most of its heat, and the sun has not risen
enough to begin heating the home. During this
period, the home owner may have to rely on supplemental heat. Energy-efficient features in the home minimize the need for supplemental heating.

Buildings for
the 21st Century
Buildings that are more
energy efficient, comfortable,
and affordable…that’s the
goal of DOE’s Office of Building
Technology, State and
Community Programs (BTS).
To accelerate the development
and wide application of energy
efficiency measures, BTS:
• Conducts R&D on technologies
and concepts for energy efficiency, working closely with
the building industry and with
manufacturers of materials,
equipment, and appliances
• Promotes energy/money
saving opportunities to both
builders and buyers of homes
and commercial buildings
• Works with state and local
regulatory groups to improve
building codes, appliance
standards, and guidelines for
efficient energy use
• Provides support and grants
to states and communities
for deployment of energyefficient technologies and

shade and induce summertime ventilation into
the well-designed home. Passive solar design
can reduce heating and cooling energy bills,
increase spatial vitality, and...
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