Passive Solar Home Design for Energy Savings
Passive solar home design uses home positioning, window placement, and thermal mass to harness the sun’s energy to heat and cool your home. If you Google “passive solar home design” you’ll find a lot of sources helping you heat your home with passive solar heating. However, if you live in Myrtle Beach, a designated “temperate climate” in the US, you probably have more need for passive cooling techniques. Along the Grand Strand, it’s not uncommon to run the AC in the spring and fall, in addition to our hot and humid summer season. In this post we’ll explain what passive cooling is and ways that you can keep your house cooler without using your HVAC as much.
Passive Cooling is Heat Prevention and Natural Cooling
Firstly, what is passive cooling? Passive cooling is using design strategies to limit heat gain in your home and dissipate warm air. If you’ve ever created a nice, cooling cross-breeze in home by opening two windows on opposite sides of the room, you’ve used a passive cooling technique.
Retaining solar heat is wonderful in the winter months, but what do you do during the summer?
Strategies for Block Solar Heat Gain:
- Energy Efficient Window Coverings: Keeping your blinds closed during the summer is one way to keep your home cooler. Installing insulated cellular shades, window quilts, or window films can help prevent heat gain during the hottest parts of the day.
- Solar Screens: Solar screens attach to the exterior of your windows. These screens reduce heat gain, UV damage, and glare.
- Overhang Shading Structures: Awnings and trellises are covered structures that can help shade the exterior walls of your home, cutting down on direct sunlight and subsequent heat gain.
- Landscaping: Trees, shrubs, and bushes can help prevent heat gain as well. Pampas grasses, live oaks, and magnolias are South Carolina species that can help block direct sunlight.
- Soffits and Vents: Warm air expands and becomes less dense, which is the reason why warm air rises. Build a home with ample soffits and vents for warm air to travel and exit. This will increase ventilation and natural cooling. This method of heat dissipation is called stack ventilation.
- Cross-Ventilation: Move air quickly through open spaces in your home with a cross breeze. Adding screens to doors and windows allows you to open up opportunity for natural cooling.
It’s Cooler When You Build Smarter
Myrtle Beach summers are long, hot, and humid. They can also be expensive if you are running your AC around the clock. Using some of the strategies for passive cooling can help you reduce your energy consumption and lower cooling costs.
If you are looking to design and build in Myrtle Beach, use stack ventilation design and other techniques to bring passive cooling into your home from the start.