Have you ever considered how passive solar energy from the low winter sun can help you reduce your energy costs?
Passive solar is the concept of collecting, storing, and distributing solar energy without the aid of any mechanical devices. Solar energy is collected during daylight hours through a building’s south facing windows, stored as thermal energy in the floors, walls, and furnishings, then distributed as heat during the later part of the day when the amount of solar energy entering the building decreases. This concept can be quite useful in the sunny Capital Region where we rank #7 in Canada for Sunny Days During the Winter Months.
How can you take advantage of passive solar energy to reduce your energy costs? If you have any south facing windows in your home or office be sure to open the curtains or shades during the sunny hours of the day to capture the solar energy and ensure that those same curtains or shades are closed during the darker hours so as not to waste any of the heat collected. Other things to consider when trying to capture passive solar energy is that materials with more mass or density (floors, walls, countertops) capture and hold that energy better and release it slower than materials with less mass, so try to expose the denser materials in your home or office to more of the sunlight entering through the south facing windows. Capturing solar energy passively will help reduce the need to actively heat a building with a furnace thereby reducing both the electricity and natural gas consumption.
So as we carry on through a cold but sunny streak of weather consider trying to capture some of that lovely free energy that shines down upon us.