Let’s face it – the sun is going to keep shining in the foreseeable future. Since it’s such a big part of our lives, the smart move is to make the most of its power when designing your home:
Before getting into techniques to maximizing the heat you get from the sun, you have to make sure that your house keeps as much heat generated as possible. That means efficient insulation as well as thorough weatherproofing to prevent air leakages – especially around the windows! Without proper insulation and weatherproofing, even the most brilliant heating design will be rendered useless.
Moving on to solar-heat-maximization techniques, the key part is installing most of the house’s windows on the south side. That way, you get maximum exposure to the sun each day. As the sun’s rays enter through the windows, it’s a good idea to have them hit stone floor and/or walls on the south side of the house. The stone will absorb the sun’s heat during the day and slowly radiate that heat inside the house in the evening.
Using dark finishes also helps since dark colours are better at absorbing sunlight and the heat that comes with it.
In the hot season, it’s all about keeping the sun from heating up the interior. You can do that on the outside with a sufficient roof overhang over the south-side windows. Or depending on the size of your windows, you can add on some exterior shutters or retractable awnings.
On the inside, window coverings are your best friend. Roller screens are great in that they diffuse the solar heat that comes through while still allowing you to see outside. If you don’t mind covering up the view though, cellular blinds are ideal because they’ll also help form an insulating barrier at the windows.
Besides taking advantage of the sun for its heat, you can augment your home’s energy efficiency with solar power as well. In the simplest form, the addition of some skylights or solar tubes will bring more sunlight into your home so you can leave the electric lights off longer. For a higher sophistication, put up solar panels so that your home can be more self-sufficient energy-wise.
What’s more, the extra power source from the sun also means you can afford to transition your house to a smart home. Take a look at the possibilities of motorized blinds, for starters. Smart home automation would complete the energy efficiency loop because it will fine-tune even more efficiencies in energy consumption.
That’s how you can beat the sun at its own game!