Passive Solar Winter Living


Heidi NawrockiIt is difficult for us to believe, but we are at the start of the third winter of living in our passive solar home. We still get confused looks and stares when we tell people we live in a passive solar home.

“So, you use electric to heat your house, then?”

“That must be neat to live off grid!”

“The sun? It heats your house?”

“That can't really work, there's no way.”

Well, I'm here to tell you it DOES work and it's a lot of fun as well. So, let's dispel some myths.

Diane Goodwin
1/16/2015 1:33:11 PM

I designed my house for passive solar also, and would do it again. The one caution I would offer is to make sure the heat system is designed to compensate for the grey overcast days in winter where there is little to no solar heat gain. But in the winter when the sun shines, my house is toasty and the heater barely kicks on. Financing and insurance also be drawbacks to alternative house design. I installed mini-splits with heat pumps for heating/cooling and one insurance company said they could not insure my house because I had more than one thermostat. I can only imagine how bad they would be to actually file a claim with.

11/23/2014 8:59:12 AM

Heidi, great post about the heating power of the sun. I have a south facing three window view of .... well .... the neighbor's house across the street in my urban neighborhood but during the winter months I do just as you have suggested. The insulated drapes are wide open during the sunny days which keeps the furnace from operating most of the day. When the sun goes down the drapes are closed and heat retention is the goal. ***** In the summer the drapes are open as well as the windows during the evening and night hours to let in the cool air. During the day the drapes are closed to keep out the hot sun and thus make the air conditioning hours less and not stress out the unit. With a little logic and planning utility cost saving can even happen in the urban city. ***** Have a great solar passive heat day.

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