Passive Solar Cooling for Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 11/19/2013

Passive solar cooling of homes involves combination of several different techniques to help lower cooling costs of the home in an environmentally friendly manner. The techniques used should depend upon the climate of the region. They could range from natural ventilation through breezes and thermal mass to carefully designed and built roof, windows, window overhangs etc. Such homes are easily able to stay cool and comfortable, during the summertime, without much use of an air

Passive Solar Heating for Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 11/19/2013

A passive solar heating system uses “building components to collect, store, and distribute solar heat gains to reduce the demand for space heating” (NIBS, 2012). It reduces the load on the home heating systems and could even possibly eliminate their need to be installed in the first place, by letting the home to get heated by the natural means.  

The amount of passive solar heating possible (sometimes called the passive solar savings fraction) depends on …

Passive Solar Energy for Homes: Daylighting

Reviewed and revised on 11/15/2013

Natural light can contribute to energy savings inside the home by reducing the need for artificial lighting powered by energy sources. Structures with a long east-west axis and a concentration of windows on the southern exposure receive the maximum benefit from daylight. Windows with low-emissivity (Low-E) glass provide the opportunity for optimum natural lighting while reducing heat gain in the summer and heat loss during the winter months.

Recommendations for the amount of southern windows …

Wind Turbine Energy Systems for Homes

A home wind system uses the available wind and breezes around a residence to rotate a small turbine that converts wind into electricity. These systems are becoming more popular in areas of the US where the wind and breezes are generally constant, and the wind speed (velocity) is typically between 8-35 miles per hour. Most small turbines have the capacity to turn into the direction of the wind to maximize the amount of electricity generated.

Photo of wind turbine in

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Photo taken during the installation of a ground source heat pump.


A heat pump can be an efficient alternative to the standard home heating system. Moreover, during the cooling season, its function can be reversed as it acts as an air conditioner. Heating and cooling buildings using ground source heat pumps (also known as geothermal heat pumps) is becoming more popular.

The Basics

To understand how a heat pump works, think for a moment about a refrigerator. This appliance …

Photovoltaic Energy Systems for Homes

A home photovoltaic (PV) system uses the available sun shining on a residence (usually the roof area) to convert sunlight into electricity through the use of specialized photovoltaic cells. These systems are becoming more popular in areas of the US where the clear and sunny sky conditions are generally consistent. Most photovoltaic systems are constructed as an array of multiple panels, and are fixed to the roof, or are moveable to track the angles of the sun throughout a day …

Passive Solar Design for Homes

 Reviewed and Revised on 11/15/2013

Passive solar design uses the sun’s energy to heat a home in the cold days of the winter, and wind (breezes) to cool a home in the warm days of the summer. You can benefit by incorporating both passive solar heating and cooling in a home design in order to save on energy bills and to reduce the impact of the home on the environment. Passive solar design often doesn’t require the use of mechanical