The largest energy load in any home is heating and cooling. The one source of energy that has a dramatic impact on minimizing heating and cooling costs is from the sun. Every home should be designed and oriented in a way to utilize solar energy. Passive solar design can lower your energy bills significantly compared to photovoltaic and solar hot water collectors that are used to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
Designing your home to utilize natural night or daylighting requires special attention in certain areas where visual tasks take place like the reading area, living room, home office and kitchen. Other places that require adequate lighting are walk in closets and utility rooms. In these spaces, daylighting can reduce the need for artificial lighting. Solar tubes are useful for providing natural light in these type of locations and also hard to reach darkened areas.
You can consider a few daylighting strategies like the ones listed below:
· To let light indoors, the house should be placed and angled accordingly. This is done by shading the windows from the heat of the day by using canopies or trees.
· To admit warm winter light and block out the harsh summer sun, consider sizing overhangs. The house needs to be properly shaped to balance the light so that every room has light entering from at least two sides. H shaped and C shaped houses are constructed in a way that allows light entering every room from two sides. However they are less energy efficient and compact compared to rectangular shaped houses.
· Adding daylighting products for the atrium and courtyard can illuminate the entire indoor space from above. The only way to direct natural light into darkened areas of interior spaces is to transfer sunlight from a daylighting device situated on the roof to areas inside the house.
· A daylighting expert can guide you to install the device based on the climate and the room. There are many factors considered like whether the space needs warm ambience or bright task lighting or will the presence of windows prove a liability in a well insulated space or will they be used for solar heat gain. Questions like these require careful evaluation to determine a home’s basic needs.
What is passive heating and daylighting? It is all about planning your home design with a compass. You need to determine how the sun moves throughout the day and through the course of the year in the area you live before designing a floor plan. Selective construction strategies can save a lot of money in the long run, especially for heating and lighting. Also, there is another added advantage for the homeowner and that is a naturally lit house with plenty of sunlight that is a more pleasant and healthy place to live in. Use your home’s design to let in as much sunlight as possible.
Setting each room in your house thoughtfully goes a long way in helping your indoor space stay well lit and illuminated. Morning sun is usually dominant on the east side. You can place your kitchen and dining room in that area to make the most of natural light early in the day. Of course, early morning sunshine is definitely good for you. Bedrooms that have east facing windows will be ideal for early risers but not for those who would like to sleep in. Bedrooms with west facing windows will be ideal for late risers. Sunlight is the strongest on the south side, so you can place your living room in that area as it is the most used room in the house. The north side has the least amount of sunlight, so you can locate the bathrooms and utility rooms in that area where natural light is not so important.