The Passive Solar Home design emerged as a response to an oil crisis in the 1970s, and uses free solar energy, thus decreasing heating bills by about fifty percent. The carefully calculated features of this home make it an ideal solution for those who would like to decrease the size of their carbon footprint, and have an incredible impact on the contribution of minimizing climate change.
- Orientation of the House: orientating the house with a long East-West axis will help optimize solar gain from the South in the winter.
- Window Placement: placing most windows on the South side of the house, and very few on the East and West sides will avoid overheating of the house from the low sun rising in the morning (East) and setting in the late afternoon (West). Having few windows on the North side will also prevent drafts from the cold winds coming from the Northwest. Double or triple glazed windows will provide better insulation.
- Roof Overhang: the roof overhang of a home can be calculated so that it perfectly blocks the high summer sun but also allows the low winter sun to penetrate the building envelope.
- Thermal Mass: a large mass inside the home, such as a water jug or stone, will capture, hold, and release heat in the home.
- Intelligent Landscaping: place evergreen trees to the Northwest to shield the home from the winter winds, and place deciduous trees to the South which will provide shade in the summer, but will be bare in the winter thus allowing the sun to enter.