Direct Gain Solar Energy

Direct gain solar energy is the simplest way to use passive solar energy.  All you have to do is let the sunshine in.  Yes, just open the curtains, shutters, blinds etc. on your south-facing windows if you live in the northern hemisphere or your north-facing windows if you live in the southern hemisphere.

Direct gain solar energy is the simplest way to use passive solar energy. All you have to do is let the sunshine in. Yes, just open the curtains, shutters, blinds etc. on your south-facing windows if you live in the northern hemisphere or your north-facing windows if you live in the southern hemisphere.

In this system, your living space is a solar collector, heat absorber and distribution system. The glass windows admit solar energy into the house where it strikes the walls, the floor and all the furniture. These items absorb the energy while the sun is shining and release it back into the living space when the sun sets.

Okay these systems work best when you have a lot of thermal mass in your living space. Thermal mass is simply a solid or liquid that will absorb and store warmth and coolness until it is needed. Such as ceramic tile floors, brick walls, slab foundation etc. The surfaces of these walls and floors are usually a dark color because dark colors absorb more heat than light colors.

Some home owners and builders have used water-filled containers located inside the living space to absorb and store solar heat. Water stores twice as much heat as masonry materials per cubic foot of volume. However since water doesn’t support itself like masonry, carefully designed structural support is required.

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