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Passive Solar

You donít need state-of-the-art technology in order to get solar power in your home. Passive solar technology is a concept that informs the design of a building, which will be designed to collect, store and distribute solar energy as heat in the winter and mitigate solar heat in the summer. In general, no mechanical and electrical designs, such as pumps and fans, are required.

According to Energy Savers, a governmental agency dedicated to energy efficiency, there are five elements that constitute a complete passive solar home design. These are aperture (the entry point of solar light), absorber (the hard, dark surface of the storage element), thermal mass (the materials that retain or store the heat produced by sunlight, distribution (how solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house) and control (elements to shade the aperture area during summer months, such as roof overhangs). The latterís purpose is to ensure the house will be comfortable during summer as well.

Passive solar design can range from total reliance on solar power or just partial use of this type of renewable energy. That will depend on design and geographical location. Wind patterns, topography, vegetation and amount of sunshine in the area play a key role in passive solar design and the performance of the building. Passive solar design principles can be applied to new constructions or adapted to existing buildings, which will need to be retrofitted.