Passive Solar Heating in Built Environment

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Definition and Importance of Passive Solar Heating

Passive solar heating is the use of solar energy to heat a building without mechanical or electrical energy. The architecture and construction capture, store, and distribute the sun’s energy. Every building with windows exposed to the sun is passively heated, but heat losses may exceed the solar gains. Accordingly, if the passive heat gain is to reduce heating costs, the system heat losses must be minimized. Ideally, the concept includes mass to store daytime solar heat for nights, increasing the usability of the gains. Finally, the heating system must shut off when solar heating achieves the desired room temperature. Two constraints on passive solar use are glare control and shading during non-heating months.

Maximizing usable passive solar gains is an important design aspect, but often designers focus only on minimizing heat losses. Taking the finance wo ...