MNN Galleries

Eco-friendly home guide

By: Catie Leary on Aug. 27, 2010, 11:37 a.m.
Passive solar heating

Photo: theentiremikey/Flickr

7 of 16

Passive solar heating

Using passive solar design techniques to heat and cool your home can be both environmentally friendly and cost effective.

Passive solar heating techniques include placing larger, insulated windows on south-facing walls and locating thermal mass, such as a concrete slab floor or a heat-absorbing wall, close to the windows.

In many cases, your heating costs could be more than 50% lower than the cost of heating the same house that does not include passive solar design.

Passive solar design can also help reduce your cooling costs. Passive solar cooling techniques include carefully designed overhangs, windows with reflective coatings, and reflective coatings on exterior walls and the roof.

A passive solar house requires careful design and site orientation, which depend on the local climate. So, if you are considering passive solar design for new construction or a major remodeling, you should consult an architect familiar with passive solar techniques.