Passive Solar in Sacramento, Rocklin, Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Surrounding Areas
Inside the living space to absorb and store solar heat. Although water stores twice as much heat as masonry materials per cubic foot of volume, water thermal storage requires carefully designed structural support. An advantage of water thermal storage is that it can be installed in an existing home if the structure can support the weight.
Indirect Gain (Trombe Wall)
An indirect-gain passive solar home has its thermal storage between the south-facing windows and the living spaces. The most common indirect-gain approach is a Trombe wall.
The wall consists of an 8-inch to 16-inch thick masonry wall on the south side of a house. A single or double layer of glass mounted about one inch or less in front of the dark-colored wall absorbs solar heat, which is stored in the wall’s mass. The heat migrates through the wall and radiates into the living space. Heat travels through a masonry wall at an average rate of one inch per hour, so the heat absorbed on the outside of an 8-inch thick concrete wall at noon will enter the interior living space around 8 p.m.
Isolated Gain (Sunspaces)
The most common isolated-gain passive solar home design is a sunspace that can be closed off from the house with doors, windows, and other operable openings. Also known as a sunroom, solar room, or solarium, a sunspace can be included in a new home design or added to an existing home.
Sunspaces should not be confused with greenhouses, which are designed to grow plants. Sunspaces serve three main functions — they provide auxiliary heat, a sunny space to grow plants, and a pleasant living area. The design considerations for these three functions are very different, and accommodating all three functions requires compromises.
Passive Solar Home Design For Summer Comfort
Experienced passive solar home designers plan for summer comfort as well as winter heating.
In most climates, an overhang or other devices, such as awnings, shutters, and trellises will be necessary to block summer solar heat gain. Landscaping can also help keep your passive solar home comfortable during the cooling season.