Collecting passive solar heat can be accomplished in a number of different ways. Proper orientation of the dwelling to the sun is first and foremost. The best way to accomplish this is to place the main living areas along the long axis within 15 degrees of South. The house can then be tuned to act as a solar collector with either “Direct” or “Indirect” passive solar.
– Isolated solar gain can be accomplished with attached sunrooms that act like micro-climates, collecting heat that can then be circulated into the main living area mechanically or through natural convection.
– Direct solar gain draws the sun’s heat in through “high solar heat gain” windows and distributes that energy into a room to heat the air. A concrete floor can act as a collector (thermal mass) for collecting and storing heat.
Careful design & planning is critical so that windows, shading and thermal mass all be sized correctly to avoid overheating or overshading.