The Sun Photo

Passive Solar Energy Techniques

Incorporating Passive Solar Energy Techniques in Texas

What you do to incorporate these techniques in the Texas Hill Country is different than in other climates and latitudes. Knowing the technology is far less rare than knowing how to adapt it effectively and aesthetically with custom residential design.

Architectural design interprets and integrates these techniques to improve the way a house looks and works. The techniques save money by realizing energy efficiency and increase the comfort of living. This results in adding value to the construction project. This results in making money on the resale!

Typically, the summer solstice is around June 19th. In our latitude the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at around 1:32 PM (adjusted for daylight savings time), at 87 degrees above the horizon. This day the sun will rise 15 degrees north of due east at 6:30 AM and set 15 degrees north of due west at 8:35 PM. It is the day with the longest daylight of the year for our hemisphere. December 21st is the winter solstice; the day we have the least daylight when the sun reaches the opposite extreme. It will only rise 33 degrees above the horizon at 12:32 PM, while rising 15 degrees south of due east at 7:01 AM and setting 15 degrees south of due west at 5:56 PM.

If you do not fully understand how to incorporate this information into your new custom residence design do not be worried. Most importantly, do not dismiss this information as insignificant. Simply hire an architect with expertise and experience in passive solar energy design.

With his use of sun angle charts, your architect will be able to design your residence with full knowledge and understanding of where the sun is every day of the year and every hour of the day. He will know how to incorporate passive solar heating in the winter to reduce your use of fossil fuel forced air heating. Your architect will utilize passive cooling in the warmer months through the use of shading devices such as properly designed overhangs, fin walls, solar louvers and brise-soleil. He will also use the principles of convection and solar siphoning to stimulate natural cross ventilation. [+]

passive solar texas passive solar beyond passive solar


Passive Solar

"Solar energy is a radiant heat source that causes natural processes upon which all life depends. Some of the natural processes can be managed through building design in a manner that helps heat and cool the building. The basic natural processes that are used in passive solar energy are the thermal energy flows associated with radiation, conduction, and natural convection. When sunlight strikes a building, the building materials can reflect, transmit, or absorb the solar radiation. Additionally, the heat produced by the sun causes air movement that can be predictable in designed spaces. These basic responses to solar heat lead to design elements, material choices and placements that can provide heating and cooling effects in a home"


The sun on May 18,1996
Photo NOAA


About Architecture

"The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you are talking about building a house, you're talking about dreams"

Robert A. M. Stern