Architects will be the first people to tell you that their two main goals when designing a structure are one, that the foundation is sound, and two, that the building turns out to be pleasing to the eye. Many architects were hesitant to dive-in to environmentally-conscious building elements because of their limited aesthetic qualities, but most have come around because of the substantial benefits. The idea of designing businesses and homes with solar energy in mind is growing exponentially. Nearly half of the energy used in the world is utilized to keep businesses running. If this amount can be significantly reduced, think of the energy surplus that would be available. It is a responsible choice to tap into the boundless resource of the sun.

Solar Energy in Architecture

Passive Solar Design

The term passive solar design refers to the precise placement of walls, windows, and floors, that are specially constructed to gather, hold onto, and disperse energy from the sun. This process makes it possible to collect heat in the winter to keep your home warm, and deflect intense sunrays in the summer to make your home comfortable. This natural method of utilizing solar resources does not require the aid of motorized or electrical devices. Solar panels attached to rooftops convert energy from the sun into heat and aid in ventilation. Solariums are a great way to optimize the power from the sun. Solariums are comparable to greenhouses in design. They are both made of glass and are created to gather heat by filtering direct sunlight—this protects people enjoying the room from harmful UV rays. To augment the solar resource components in a structure, windows are made to face the afternoon sun during winter months and be shielded appropriately in the summer. Using natural shading devices like trees, creeping vines, or shutters, to deflect sunrays is a smart way to enhance solar power. Proper insulation in a home can assist in equalizing the thermal mass. When the weather outside changes from morning to evening, a strong internal thermal framework can balance the difference, decreasing the energy necessary to cool or heat a home.

The Future

Architects will have to spend more time and research on solar energy implementations. The ability to store energy, and renew it, will be vital to design. New laws and teaching techniques will support energy conservation and recycling. Scientists focusing on energy hope to have all future buildings and homes run mainly on natural energy, such as wind, water, and solar power. They plan to learn better ways to incorporate and heighten solar power into more efficient structures: focusing on insulation and energy storage. Up to 75% of the energy consumed in residences is from area heating and heated water usage. Solar energy can completely cover this requirement. The unique combi-system provides both heat and heated water. Depending on the climate, the size of the tank, and the collector’s storing capacity, combi-systems can more than meet the needs of the building or home in question. Incorporating solar energy into an existing home is possible, but it is easier to build the structure from the ground up with solar power in mind. Utilizing nature for a power source is not only responsible—it is also economical and efficient.