What is Passive Solar Heating and Cooling?

Passive solar heating depends upon the design of a structure to capture and store the heat of the sun. It usually depends upon glazing (windows) to capture the sun's rays. It uses mass (e.g. stone, concrete, brick) to absorb the heat and release the heat slowly. Heating and Cooling Diagram

Passive cooling depends upon the design of a building to shade the structure during the summer month. It depends upon convection currents - warm air rises. The warm air in the house is vented out through high operable windows and in the process draws in cooler air from the basement and/or the outside.

Such passive solar systems are not new. Pueblo indians used passive solar principles to temper the interior air of their cliff dwellings. They placed their homes on the south side of canyons and made maximum use of the low winter sun angels. They also made maximum use of the shade created by the overhanging cliffs during the summer month. Similar passive solar uses can be found in various mediterranean structures.