If you live in a temperate part of the world, keeping you home warm will account for well over half of the energy you use. Significant carbon savings can be made by improving insulation, upgrading existing boilers or furnaces, or switching to alternative and renewable sources of supply.
Nowadays we tend to view our homes in a rather mechanistic way, as containers that we heat up or cool down depending on what the weather’s like at any given time. This hasn’t always been the case. Traditional or vernacular dwellings, from the yurt to the igloo, have long displayed a more holistic design approach based on accommodating both prevailing conditions and site specifics. In cool climates, that often meant orienting a building towards the south to benefit from passive solar
gain, sheltering it with earth and arranging living spaces
in a tight plan around a central heat-producing .
The Chinese construct brick sleeping platforms that incorporate a small fireplace-the mattress goes on top, providing a nice warm bed for the night.
Most of us do not have the opportunity to build an home from scratch. We can’c change the orientation of house, raise it up if it sits in a cool hollow or turn it ar so that it is not exposed to prevailing winds. Nevertheless there are a number of passive strategies that can be employed to reduce dependence on supplementary heating.
Other approaches make use of solar gain – the warming power of the sun’s rays. These include:
Making the most of south-facing elevations by enlarging windows or openings so that the greatest advantage can be taken of the sun’s energy
Building in flexibility with respect to living ar gements. If you have enough space, it can be a good idea to replan the layout on a seasonal basis, so that in the winter you sleep at the top of the house where warm air accumulates and in the summer you sleep downstairs where it is cooler.
Using massive materials, such as brick, stone an concrete, which warm up slowly and release heat slowly.
During the day, these materials will store the heat of the sun, and then release it gradually overnight the same principle as putting a brick inside a storage heater.