Passive Solar Heating Saves Money

General Articles

When it comes to heating costs, most of us are not lucky enough to live in a temperate area with a constant year-round climate, and instead have to contend with winter heating bills that can be exceptionally high. When evaluating alternative home heating, an option that is often overlooked is passive solar heating. You not only save money, but energy as well.

Even on those truly frigid days in the dead of winter, the sun still emits a noticeable amount of heat. The only factor that precludes the accumulated snow from melting is the long night and short daylight period. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use the sun’s heat when it’s available without needing to significantly modify your house?

Enter the Trombe wall. It’s a wall of material used for thermal mass (concrete or stone, for example) to store the heat of the day and release it slowly through the day and night. It’s insulated on the outside by a pane of glass and an airspace to prevent heat loss to outside at night. Above the glass is a shade that allows direct exposure to the low winter sun, but shades the glass from the prolonged heat of the high summer sun, helping to keep summer cooling bills low as well.

It is not very easy to retrofit your home, and you would might need to do a major renovation. Custom designed homes are also expensive. Retrofitting your home for other energy efficient heating systems such as radiant heating is also expensive. However, with passive solar heating, after you pay for installation, it costs nothing to heat your home.

You should also think about how the Trombe wall was invented in the 19th century, and became popular in the 1960’s. This wall has been installed in many existing homes. If you want a new, energy efficient home, you can still consider older designs because they can be green as well.

The ideas being pushed in the mainstream do work, but people have been looking for ways to save money for years. It’s just now that people are becoming more environmentally conscious and the cost of heating has risen so much that we are starting to look back at the clever solutions like passive solar heating that our ancestors used to save scarce resources, and use them instead to help save the planet.

Most of us have to worry about the large costs of heating our homes during the winter. Who doesn’t want to save energy and money? One thing people seldom consider when it comes to alternative home heating is the use of passive solar heating. The Trombe wall is made of concrete or stone and stores the sun’s heat energy to be released gradually throughout your home. It is insulated on the outside to prevent heat loss, and can even lower your cooling costs in the summer low as well. Retrofitting your home may be a major renovation, but well worth the investment.

– Ryan McCall

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