Passive solar design is the type of design and construction of structures, buildings, and homes to access the energy of the sun for the necessary heating and cooling requirements of inhabited spaces by taking advantage of the characteristics that are naturally present in the building materials such as masonry and water. Passive solar systems can include windows that allow energy and wind to circulate into the home, thermal mass or building materials, and thermal chimneys, but each of the systems used in the green building are based on simple mechanical principles with few moving parts and do not require extensive maintenance. This method of construction has been used all over the world with specifics on need, based on local weather and climate conditions.
Use of Solar Energy
These methods have been used by people all over the globe and additional research is currently being conducted in the effectiveness of wing wall ventilation strategies and creating zero energy buildings at the Florida Solar Energy Center. Passive heating in green building techniques using thermal mass materials such as brick and thermal chimneys are well developed green building methods. The thermal heating is considered a proven practice and is commonly used. The cost of a structure using this environmental friendly methods is similar to or slightly greater than a similar traditionally built structure, however with homes it is seen by real estate agents that not having a mechanically complex cooling system would be detrimental for resale value although this has not proven to be an issue.
Simple Solutions Using the Sun
If total passive solar building options are not cost effective, builders, contractors, and buyers can opt for simple solutions to create a home or building that can still have certain elements of passive solar technology. Easy options include choosing a home that is facing the sun along an axis that has taken into account the area to maximize or minimize the solar distribution of heat. Opting for an open floor plan and utilizing shading elements to prevent sun from reaching the interior of the home can decrease energy use and create a green building easily.