Take Advantage of Passive Solar Energy
Passive solar design includes such techniques as installing large, insulated windows on the house’s south side. These windows maximize winter sunlight but absorb no direct sunlight in the summertime. Putting in a heat absorbing wall or concrete slab floor next to the windows locates thermal mass.
A few tips will help you maximize the benefits of solar heating. Regularly clean south-facing windows. Dirt reduces the amount of energy the windows can absorb. Ensure that nothing is blocking sunlight from the concrete slab floors or heat-absorbing walls. Use insulating draperies on south-facing windows to reduce heat loss during the night and during cloudy weather.
Make sure that your insulation is adequate. Use weather-stripping around windows and doors. Removeable insulation is available for use on doors and windows at night and during cloudy weather to hold on to heat.
Thoughtful placing of landscaping vegetation is a must. Plant deciduous trees, shrubs and vines on the east and west sides of your house for cooling purposes. Place evergreen foliage on the north side to block winter winds.
A solar hot water heater can meet from half to nearly all of a home's hot water demand.