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February 20, 2019

Designing Homes with Passive Solar Design in Mind

Over the years we’re seen an increasing number of homeowners designing or renovating their home with energy conservation in mind. Energy efficiency is important for protecting the environment from the effects of global warming, and it can save consumers considerably on their energy bills.

There is a growing trend in home design to incorporate passive solar design elements. Passive solar design involves strategically designing elements of a building to harness or repel the sun’s power in the most efficient way and maintain the desired temparature internally. Designing a home around the sun allows the homeowner to control the internal temperature of their house with less reliance on air conditioning or heating.

If you’re looking to harness the power of the sun in your home’s design, we have some tips that can be incorporated into energy efficient designs according to the environment you live in and the Canadian weather patterns.


Face your home south if you want to attract warmth
If you are designing your home from scratch, you have much more control over how much you can incorporate passive solar design into your property. Think about the land where your property will sit and the path of the sun over this space. In general, it is best to face your home towards the sun if you want to gain warmth. Your homes long axis should be facing south so that your windows receive the most sunlight to naturally heat your home. Put your most used rooms, such as your living room and kitchen south as they’ll require the most heating. Bedrooms are best placed at the northern side of the house because they are mostly used in the evening and will therefore benefit the least from being heated by the sun.If your home is already built then you will have much less control over how much you can influence the sun’s path across your home. One thing you can do however, is think about adding or moving your home’s windows. Moving your living room’s windows to be facing south, where possible, can go a long way towards making your home more energy efficient in a cooler climate.


Consider your landscaping
Your home’s surrounding landscape is also a big factor in the energy efficiency of your home. If you are wanting to make your home warmer you may want to consider removing any trees or foliage that create shadows in front of your windows, as these will be blocking the sun’s rays from reaching and heating your home. On the flip side of the coin, if your home is too hot and you want to make it cooler without relying on air conditioning, adding trees or awnings in front of your windows can make a nice, cooling shade over your windows and prevent the sun from reaching your home. Deciduous Trees can be a smart option since the leaves will drop on the cooler months, letting the sunlight through while the warmer months will be protected by the foliage.


Use quality insulation
Once you have designed your home to maximise the sun’s potential, don’t let all of that hard work leak out of your roof, floor or walls – literally. Without proper insulation the heat you’ve trapped in your home, or the cool air you’ve collected, will seep out of your home quickly and you’ll have to work harder to control your home’s temperature. As well as insulating your ceiling, your windows and door frames to keep your home as energy efficient as possible. If you are building a new home, consider the energy efficiency of the construction materials used including the concrete flooring. If your home is already constructed it can be challenging trying to insulate your walls. You could consider wall cladding options since some come with an energy efficiency rating.


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