What are passive energy efficiency techniques?

Passive solutions for energy efficiency techniques requires a lot of details. The passive design takes benefits from the building’s site, climate, and materials to minimize the energy use. Low- and zero-energy buildings might have an enormous impact on our energy consumption and carbon emissions. We have lots of technologies and techniques that can help achieve the goals. A well-designed passive solar home first reduces heating and cooling loads and then meets those reduced loads with solar energy.

The heat loads for modern homes are small, and thus it’s significant to avoid oversizing south-facing glass and assure that south-facing glass is correctly shaded. Here is why it is important and how building professionals can help you.

Energy efficiency first

Before you start thinking about adding solar features to your new or existing house, it’s significant to know that the energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for reduction of heating and cooling bills. You should choose building professionals experienced in energy-efficient house design and work with them to enhance your home’s energy efficiency.

Site selection

If you are preparing to construct a new home, your building professional can help you with deciding what solutions can be best for you. A portion of the south side of your house has unobstructed “view” of the sun. You can consider possible future uses of the land to the south of your site like small trees become tall trees, and future buildings can block your home’s access to the sun. However, in some areas, zoning or regulations are applied to protect landowners’ solar access. If it isn’t protected in your area, you can get help from the architects and look for the north to south and design the house on the north end of the lot.

How a passive solar home design works

A passive house collects heat as the sun shines using its south-facing windows and retains in materials which store heat, known as “thermal mass.” The ideal ratio of thermal mass to glazing differs by climate. Well-designed passive homes provide daylight all year and comfort in a cooling season using nighttime ventilation.

To be successful, a passive home design must include these essential elements which work together:

• Correctly oriented windows

• Thermal mass

• Distribution mechanism

• control strategies

Windows orientation:

Windows collect solar energy and should face within 30 degrees of true south and shouldn’t be shaded during heating season from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. During cooling season, the windows should be shaded to elude overheating.

Thermal mass

Thermal mass in a passive home -- commonly concrete, brick, stone, and tile absorbs heat while the heating season and during the cooling season absorbs heat from the house. Ensure that objects do not block sunlight on the thermal mass materials.

Distribution mechanisms

Solar heat is transferred by conduction, convection, and radiation. In some homes, small fans and blowers help distribute heat. Darker colors absorb more than lighter colors and are an excellent choice for thermal mass in passive homes.

Control strategies

Appropriately sized roof overhangs can provide shade during summers. Other control approaches include electronic sensing devices, like a thermostat which signals a fan to turn on, operable vents or dampers which allow or restrict heat flow, etc.

Refining the design

Though the concept is simple, the design should fit the site as well as also fits the owner’s budget, aesthetic, and performance requirements. The elements the designer will consider:

  • insulation

  • air sealing

  • window location

  • glazing type

  • window shading

  • Thermal mass location & type.

  • Auxiliary heating & cooling systems.

The architect will apply these elements using passive solar design techniques that include direct gain, indirect gain, and isolated gain.

Passive solar home design for summer comfort

In countries like Pakistan, passive home design can be a convenience from the summer heat. Your experienced passive home designers plan your home for summer comfort and winter heating. A passive house necessitates careful design and siting, which may vary by local climate conditions. Consult an architect familiar with passive solar techniques to have a home which can reduce your cost as well as allow you the best comfort in both summer and winter.

#PassiveEnergy #EnergyEffeciency #Electricity #Consumption #SolarPower

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