Passive Solar: Keep Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter

I didn’t realise the benefits of passive solar design until I moved into my current house which has heavily shaded windows on both the east and west sides. It’s wintertime  and the house hardly has any solar access. Hopefully this means it will be a cool house in summer, but this winter has been freezing.

Passive solar design really works. The point, simply, is to let solar in during winter and shade it out in summer. This can be achieved through the intelligent placement of shade – so that it’s there when you want it and gone when you don’t. The plan for my tiny house is to position the house with most glass facing north, with timber framing over which vines (grape and passionfruit) will grow during the warmer months. The plants will lose their leaves over winter letting the sun in – not to mention the angle of the sun in the winter time.

Andrew Odom of Tiny House Revolution explains it all much better than me in his recent post, Passive Solar Tiny House, which was the inspiration for this post. In fact, I think his diagram sums it all up perfect.

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4 thoughts on “Passive Solar: Keep Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter

  1. Glad to see someone putting some thought into passive solar orientation- I’m a firm believer that councils should not pass plans for homes which haven’t put emphasis on maximising the appropriate orientation

    • Hear, hear. I passed through one of these “McMansionville” outer suburbs yesterday – I grew up in those sorts of areas – and was shocked at the lack of design that went into these places. Houses facing every which way. Tiny windows where there should be big ones. Big windows where there should be tiny ones.

  2. Not exactly related, but relevent to heating and cooling without power, have you seen the airconditioning system at Matindale Hall in the Clare Valley? It’s pure genius.

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