Sunday, January 26, 2014

Praising Solar Gain

Most of us have been experincing the arctic polar plunge into the US in the last few weeks, me included. We have had frozen pipes, impassable roads, school closings and more snow and ice that I'd like. 

I have extreme cabin fever.

But, there's a lesson I learned in all of this. I have long been a supporter of passive solar energy but it really has come to the forefront in this awful weather. Usually on cold days, I run out and start my old truck and let it warm up before I try to go anywhere. 

Despite recent temps in the single digits, we have had a couple of days with (cold) sunshine. On those days I try to get out for perishable groceries if the roads are passable. I've discovered that even in 5ºF weather, the cab of my truck is warm and toasty in the sunshine, without any need to warm up the engine, thus proving how solar gain really works even in dreadfully cold weather.

It gives me a great prospective now on designing wit6h passive solar gain in mind.


  1. We built our house using passive solar ideas, and if it's really sunny, it can be 0F outside but we will be in the 70's. If it's colder than that, we usually light one of the stoves (the one in the cellar) to keep it warm inside. With a cellar, we don't have the heat storage capacity often associated with passive solar.

    It's saved us probably 10's of thousands of dollars in heating bills over 30 years, here is Western Mass.

  2. It's a chilly day here today, not supposed to get out of the 30's. Yesterday was near 60! so we got lots done outside & ready to be inside cooking up beef bone broth. As I work in the kitchen, the dogs are lying in the sunspots...dogs know aaaaallll about solar gain! LOL


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