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Celebrating passive solar

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2009 at 10:11 am

Sitting at my desk, luxuriating in the warmth of the sun, while the temperature outside is round about zero, made me think that we don't always pay enough attention to the benefits of passive solar heat.

By choosing to have my office in a south facing room, with a huge window, I'm sure that I spend much less on lighting and heating than I would have if I'd chosen the back bedroom instead. Add to that the associated savings in carbon emissions, and winter grumps that come with cold and light deprivation and the benefits mount up.

The wonderful thing about the sun as form of heating is that it has its own seasonal control system. In winter, when I need the heat, the sun is low enough to shine straight in the window, keeping me warm. I can just drop the blind a little to keep it out of my eyes without losing the heat.

As someone who hasn't quite shaken off the puritan attitude to turning on the central heating during the day that I inherited from my parents, this is an ideal. After all putting another jumper on doesn't have quite the same effect as direct sunlight. It's surprising how regularly I see it, even in winter.

In summer, when I don't want to overheat, the sun is higher in the sky. This means that although I look out the window appreciate the lovely golden glow of a sunny day, I don't get fried in its direct glare.

What a great system, and how satisfactory it is to benefit from it.

Photo by Downtown Pictures

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