As much as it has been talked about for decades, passive solar energy is still a big unknown, especially compared to photovoltaic solar which, compared to the previous one, is included in what is called active solar energy.
If, until now, you have not been fully aware of the existence of these two categories, we will tell you what the differences are between one and the other, in addition to explaining what the energy is for. passive solar and all that it can give of itself. office buildings and homes, as well as for individuals who wish to make the most of the possibilities offered by the sun.
Passive energy vs active energy.
As we have already advanced, photovoltaic energy is framed, with thermal solar energy, in the active use of solar energy. And it is that this equipment, the photovoltaic panels on one side, and the collectors on the other, constitute one of the main differences between active and passive solar energy.
While active solar power requires additional equipment and a conversion process of the energy captured (in electricity in the case of photovoltaics, and in heat in the case of thermal), in passive solar energy there are no intermediaries or intermediary processes. The use is straightforward.
The difference is in weight, since, for example, avoid investments in solar technology. However, what is removed on one side is put on the other. Passive use of energy from the sun is not possible without reforms in pre-existing buildings. In the case of newly constructed buildings, in order to get the most out of this alternative, it must be included in the design and construction lines of the project.
How to harness passive energy.
The above is explained in the weight that building elements such as windows, windows to use or even open roofs have in using the energy of the sun. It depends on these elements and many others which, with no more need than sunlight, can be used for the air conditioning of a building or a house.
In fact, the potential of this option to reduce spending on bills at the expense of heating and air conditioning is one of the main strengths of this alternative. Another advantage which is also important is the possibility that it offers to take advantage of natural light and reduce dependence on artificial lighting.
“A passive solar design takes advantage of a building’s location, climate and materials to reduce energy use.”. He explains it Ministry of Energy from the United States, which places the Trombe Wall as an example of passive use of solar energy, a very affordable and efficient alternative to save on bills.
Basically, then, it is about what, thanks to the entry of light, as well as good ventilation and insulation, among other aspects, the energy of the sun provides heat in winter. For its part, a well-designed system will manage to maintain the temperature in summer, without overheating, thanks to drafts and the level of thermal mass of the material that has been chosen for the walls.
Essential components of passive solar energy.
Thermal mass, as shown, is a crucial element in this scheme. Concrete, brick, stone or tile are some of the materials that provide the best results. for passive solar homes, due to its ability to absorb and retain heat during hot and cold seasons.
Along with the above, windows or other surfaces that take advantage of solar lighting are essential both for capturing the sun’s energy and for preventing overloading. With this, good interior insulation, as well as mechanisms that transfer heat and, if possible, allow it to be controlled, it is possible to stabilize the temperature of a house, at no cost and without impact on the environment.
This alternative, which is spreading in combination with active solar in office buildings, among others, requires, it is true, an initial investment in the construction or in the adaptation of the building. However, it is important to note that the initial expense is offset by the low maintenance cost and the resulting savings on invoices. Therefore, we should consider this alternative which allows us to go further in a more efficient energy model.