Solar Architecture: Passive and Active


Not everybody wants to buy an already built house. There are a number of consumers who would like to have their home built to specifications that reflect their lifestyle and particular taste. This is true with environmentalists as well as anybody else. These people want homes that display their commitment to green. They are quite willing to consider alternatives to standard residential architecture as a means of achieving what they want in the places where they live.  The housing construction industry has matured to the point where this desire could be offered to them in building a home. The principal forms are either active or passive solar architecture.

The distinctions are subtle. Passive uses the materials and design of the house to naturally store accumulated energy from the sun, or block the rays from penetrating the structure. There is no assistance from a manufactured aid. Active, on the other hand, will use various forms of mechanized support to move absorbed solar power. Passive solar architecture will heat absorbents in the construction materials and window film will also be used to contain heat or block the sun’s rays. Active will take advantage of solar panels and solar heat pumps to get the job done. It comes down to the preference of the person footing the construction bill. Obviously, whoever is more inclined to Mother Nature alone as the heater will employ Passive designs and methods.

Both will supply desired heat. The question then boils down to cost in time and money.  Passive architecture will require a positioning and structuring of the desired home that borders on being an environmentalist answer to Feng Shui. Frankly, Active design has sizable upfront costs that have to be paid. Still, there are a number of Federal and state tax incentives to defray the costs and the ROI (rate of return on investment) over the life of the house are substantial. Online calculators can help give an estimate of the overall cost of an Active soar architectural scheme.  Equally helpful are estimates provided that show what the ROI can be after the cost/benefit break-even point has been successfully reached.

There is every reason to expect that solar architecture is not just a fad but a trend which will continue for a long time to come. Consumers recognize the value of solar energy into conserving and also the cost savings the realized over the life of a house. A sizable social benefit to this type of construction is the decrease in carbon emission that results. The solar architecture not only heats the whole building but also leaves a sharply reduced carbon footprint. That is sufficient justification for a green advocate to use solar architecture to build that dream house he or she wants.

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