A Simpler Solar Solution?
The sun is the most abundant source of energy available to us, yet solar energy is not always the first thing that comes to mind when we think of “green” solutions to our energy problems. This is because solar panel technology is still very expensive, and it is not always the most cost-efficient way to help the environment.
On the other hand, taking advantage of passive solar energy requires virtually no technology at all, making it a very attractive option for many people. However, it is important to keep in mind that although passive solar design uses simpler means to take advantage of the sun’s energy, it has its limitations and drawbacks-primarily that it takes a lot of planning and strategic design, and could require that you drastically modify your home or business location.
Things To Consider
Getting the most out of passive solar energy is a matter of ensuring that a building is best designed and oriented to collect and hold the sun’s heat in the winter, and keep it out in the summer. Therefore, your latitude is important, as it determines the sun’s various seasonal trajectories, as well as average temperatures. If your house is not already facing the ideal direction for your location, then an efficient passive solar design may be a very expensive option for you.
Another thing to take into consideration when trying to decide if a passive solar design is right for you is what you are trying to get out of the design. While certain geographical locations will allow you to easily meet all of your heat-related energy needs with nothing but clean, natural sunshine, doing so in some regions may not be cost effective or even possible.
This may sound discouraging, but keep in mind that passive solar energy is not an all-or-nothing venture; it can be a great way to save money on your monthly bills, even if it doesn’t completely eliminate them. But also keep in mind that, as with most things, the benefits you get from the passive solar design elements you incorporate into your home or office will reflect the planning and effort you devote to the project.
Taking advantage of passive solar energy can be as simple as insulating your house during the winter and opening the doors and windows in the summer, or it can be as complex as resituating your house and adding shading that is perfectly placed to block the sun during the summer but not during the winter. Deciding whether to use a passive solar energy design, and how much to invest in it, is a matter of carefully evaluating your location, your budget, and your goals.