How Passive Solar Can Play An Active Role In Your Tampa Home Design

Although just 1 percent of all Americans use solar energy for residential power, homeowners are becoming increasingly supportive of the technology and receptive to adopting it at some point. If you’re one of those Americans, and you’re building or remodeling your home, did you know that you can incorporate not only active solar technology, but also passive solar design?

Passive solar design involves using the climate in your region to collect and distribute warmth when it’s cold and to keep out heat from the sun when it’s hot. It requires minimal mechanical equipment, although you will need a regular heating and cooling system to augment what your passive design provides.

Capturing the sun’s rays
Passive solar design requires getting the warmth of the sun into your home, storing it and transferring it. It usually requires:

  • Specially glazed windows oriented and sized to control heat gain. These windows are designed to optimize heat gain when it’s cold and minimize the gain when it’s hot.
  • Masonry floors or walls that can absorb and store the warmth from sunlight
  • Fans, ducts and blowers to distribute the warmth during the heating season

Controlling heat in the summer
In addition to maximizing warmth in the winter, passive solar design should help to keep your home cool in the summer. Overhangs, shutters and awnings can be used to block heat gain.

  • Overhangs — either stationary or removable — can shield heat gain most effectively on south-facing windows. Because the dimensions are important, it’s best to have a solar designer or builder do the calculations for you. You might also have to factor in zoning requirements in your town.
  • Window awnings can significantly reduce heat gain on both south-facing and west-facing windows. Today’s awnings are usually made of synthetic fabric that repels water and resists fading and mildew. Choose an opaque material with a tight weave, preferably in a light color. Also make sure that your awnings are vented.
  • Shutters can be used inside your home or outside. Most exterior shutters have motorized or mechanical controls that allow you to adjust them from inside. In addition to controlling heat gain, they can provide protection from storms and vandalism.

Incorporating solar energy in your home design can be complicated. For more information, contact Simpson Air. Our experienced team of professionals will be happy to help you determine the best solar application for your Tampa area home.