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Passive Solar Heating Will Save Money

Jun 5, 2008
When it comes to heating costs, most of us are not lucky enough to live in a temperate area with a constant year-round climate, and instead have to contend with winter heating bills that can be exceptionally high. When evaluating alternative home heating, an option that is often overlooked is passive solar heating. You not only save money, but energy as well.

Even on the coldest winter days, the sun's heat can be significant. It's only the shortness of the days that keeps the snows from melting. What if you could harness that heating power, even for the short time you get it, without making huge changes to the structure of your home?

Passive solar design is a holistic approach integrating the home's architecture, materials and mechanical systems. It will consider the local climate conditions, including temperature, solar radiation and wind, to create energy conserving structures that can be powered with renewable energy sources.

There is an answer to some of the heating costs. It's called the Trombe wall. It is made of material that is used for thermal mass, usually stone or concrete. It is insulated with glass and an airspace to help keep the heat in at night. There is also a shade that lets direct low winter sun enter, but keeps the glass from being heated too much from the high summer sun to help keep your cooling costs down.

The room behind the Trombe wall receives slow, even heating for many hours after the sun sets. Rooms heated by a Trombe wall will often feel more comfortable than those heated by forced-air systems because of the radiantly warm surface of the wall, even at lower air temperatures.

Many of us are interested in pursuing more energy efficient heating alternatives such as passive solar heating. Whatever alternative you choose the cost of installation may be expensive. Whether you are seeking a custom designed home or renovating an existing structure you have options. One advantage of passive solar heating is that once installed continued use expenses are nominal.

Even though it became popular in homes built in the 1960's, the idea behind the Trombe wall actually originated in the 19th century. In shopping for that new, energy efficient home, you should keep in mind that you can still go green by using past, proven design techniques.

Now that the awareness of green issues is commonplace, people are becoming aware of the costs involved in heating our homes, both financial and environmental. Ideas from our ancestors, both ancient and not so ancient, solutions such as passive solar heating, are being looked at as viable because not only do they have a benefit environmentally, but they save us money as well.
About the Author
Two things people seldom consider when it comes to eco-friendly home heating is the use of passive solar heating and Trombe walls .
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