Passive Solar Heating

The short lived popularity of solar heating is most likely attributable to three factors: the lowering of energy costs after the oil crisis, the oversimplification of how it works, and the promotion of dubious passive solar heating devices by snake oil salespeople.

However, there is little doubt the passive solar heating works in almost any climate. This house was designed by Van Horne and Van Horne Architects, and built by George Guttmann, General Contractor in 1981. It has been using less than $200 a year in fuel, about 1/3 the normal amount for a house of a house of this size in the Seattle area.

In designing or remodeling a home, the sun's impact on the heating and cooling of the structure is an important factor. Proper orientation and sizing of windows, eaves, landscaping, and operable skylights can significantly reduce heating costs and provide the only "air conditioning" required in moderate climates. The changes in sun angles between mid-winter and mid-summer gives added importance to the consideration of solar gain in all homes.

See also: Topics: href="article/air-conditioning">Air Conditioning.

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Heating Your Home