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By: Travis Leiter. Passive Solar Energy. What is “passive” solar energy. Passive solar energy is also known as “passive solar design” or “climate design”. Houses and building are designed with the idea of obtaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out during the summer.

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Passive Solar Energy

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By travis leiter

By: Travis Leiter

Passive Solar Energy

What is passive solar energy

What is “passive” solar energy

  • Passive solar energy is also known as “passive solar design” or “climate design”.

  • Houses and building are designed with the idea of obtaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out during the summer.

  • Also used as free light to brighten buildings.

Passive solar energy

Unlike active solar energy, passive solar energy uses no mechanical or electric parts.



Passive solar energy


  • There are varying degrees of passive solar energy. Some houses simply have south facing windows while others design every inch to be efficient.

  • Few windows on the

    north side because

    winter winds generally

    come from the North.

Elements of passive solar design

Elements of Passive Solar Design

Solar Chimney (ventilation)

Overhang: very important


Solar chimney

Solar Chimney

  • The idea has been used for centuries in the Middle

    East and

    Mediterranean Europe.

  • Sun heats the black chimney causing

    hot air updraft

    pulling heat out of

    the home.

  • Vents and Chimneys can be

    closed in order to save heat/cold

Solar updraft tower larger

Solar Updraft Tower: Larger

Larger UPDRAFT towers heat greenhouse like areas underneath the tower and the hot air updraft spins turbines to generate electricity.

Thermal mass or r value

Thermal Mass or R-Value

  • TM and R-Value is the amount of heat a material absorbs per unit.

  • Concrete, brick, and stone.

  • Absorb a lot of heat and release slowly.

How is it used

How is it used?

  • Passive energy is used as space heating or space cooling depending on the season.

  • Design is used to make sure both heat and cold are locked in when needed.



  • Completely Free (besides initial design)

  • Energy Efficient

  • Saves fossil fuels

  • Cost effective, can reduce heating costs by 50%

  • “Daylighting” also reduces electric bills.

  • Not an eyesore

  • Has no pollution at all



  • Costs more than a conventional home to build

  • Inexperienced builders can use wrong materials

  • Intricate building materials

  • Difficulty planning design

  • In the summer, daylighting can actually increase costs for cooling

Impact to environment

Impact to Environment?

  • Virtually none.

  • Only pollutants are those created in the production the materials like glass, insulation, and flooring.

Where is it used

Where is it used?

  • Passive Solar Energy is produced and used in the exact same spot.

  • Used in developed countries, mainly, due to having the upfront money to research and fund the technology

    and materials.

Developing country usage

Developing Country Usage

  • The water bottle lighting used in the Philippines is an instance of Passive Solar Energy used in a developing country. Although in a much more primitive sense.

Can it replace conventional energy

Can it replace conventional energy?

  • Passive Solar Energy is much more cost effective and environmental friendly than any other fuel source but is not the answer.

  • Since it is not active, this energy cannot create the electricity needed for modern life.

Passive solar energy


Minimum of 10% more than conventional homes

  • Cost is hard to determine, but A/C and heating are cut in half.

  • Electricity bills are also decreased.

  • Lasts a long time with little need of repair.

  • Savings are consistent

  • Medium sized installation cost for home Solar panel system$6,482.70.

  • Active Solar Energy can provide electricity for ALL appliances



  • Passive Solar Energy is a great add on to a house or building but isn’t the whole solution.

  • Only provides efficiency to heating, cooling, and electricity, doesn’t actually create them.

  • Active fuels like coal, oil, natural gas, or even wind and active solar are still needed!



  • Passive Solar Energy doesn’t have to be restricted to houses. On a larger scale, like the updraft towers, this form of energy can create electricity so there is hope for a cleaner energy future!

  • It’s in our hands


Thanks for listening

Thanks for listening.

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