Living With the Sun

Living with the sun means solar panels right?

Not necessarily.

The power of the sun is a free resource that can be captured to do lots of things including: helping to heat your house, reducing your electric bill, keeping you healthier, cheering up your house or office and feeding your indoor plants. Harnessing that power is as easy as uncovering windows during the day.

Passive Heat

So what if your house isn’t passive solar – operate it like it is.

Simplistically a building designed to optimize passive solar heat has large windows facing south that are shielded from the summer sun but allow all the winter sun to flood in.

Even though a building doesn’t face south or have large windows, being aware of where the sun shines into rooms allows you to maximize the amount of passive heat captured.

  • During the day – let the sun shine in and let the room absorb the heat from the sun. Open up shutters and drapes or curtains. Remove heavy drapes and valances from south facing windows.
  • At night – close them up again to retain the heat and block out the cold.

Daylighting

Opening up window covers has an added benefit – daylight fills the room. Where there is daylight there is less need for artificial light allowing you to turn off lights and save on the electric bill.

There is also a lot of research into the benefits of daylight including: reduced eyestrain, better sleep by synchronizing circadian rhythms, avoiding seasonal affective disorder, enhancing your mood.

Opening up window covers also opens up the view and allows you to become more connected to nature.

For more on the benefits of daylighting go to http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/daylighting/