Researchers: Passive Solar Energy Could Provide ⅓ Of Home Heating Needs

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Space heating is one of the largest contributors to climate change produced by industrialized nations, creating an urgent need for carbon-free heating. Recent advances suggest that passive solar energy as a heat source can and should be part of a sustainable solution.

Researchers at the University of Oregon, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, measured the scale and scope of unused passive solar energy and compared the data to residential space heating needs. Among the noteworthy findings, the researchers discovered that cold and cloudy climates are abundant sources of solar energy and estimated that this untapped passive solar energy could provide one-third of residential heating. The group published the research in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“In the course of studying sustainable architecture, it became clear that there were lots of resources we weren’t tapping into,” said Alexandra Rempel, one of the study co-authors. “People were dismissing the possibility that there could be enough solar energy available in cold climates.” As a result, passive solar heating has been overlooked as a component of sustainable architecture and design.

Passive solar heating systems collect natural light to provide heat without converting the light to electricity. In this approach, solar radiation is collected through windows and skylights. Some is used immediately for heat, and some is stored for later use. Capturing, storing and distributing solar energy for heat without converting it to electricity is a feasible option even in cold and cloudy climates, the researchers found.

Originally published by The National Science Foundation (NSF).

Featured photo by Dean Hochman (CC BY 2.0 license)

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Video

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Guest Contributor

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.

Guest Contributor has 4389 posts and counting. See all posts by Guest Contributor