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Episode 9 :: Harness the sun to heat your home

If you're building or renovating, it's the perfect time to make choices that will harness the sun's free heat to warm your home.

The sun’s energy – there’s massive amounts of it and it’s absolutely free. If you’re building or renovating, it’s the perfect time to make choices that will harness the sun’s free heat to warm your home.

Your design choices will have a big impact on how your home can use the sun’s energy. Get it right from the start and you’ll have a warm, comfortable home – and much lower heating bills – for years to come.

Position your house to make the most of the sun

The way your home is facing plays a big part in it ability to capture the sun’s warmth.

Here’s a tip…

arrow icon Place living areas and rooms you use a lot on the north-facing side of the house so they make the most of the heat and light from the sun.

arrow icon Read more detailed information and advice in the resource Designing Comfortable Homes.

Place your windows wisely

A lot of heat can be lost through windows if not sized properly for the direction they're facing – even if the windows have double-glazing.

Here are some tips…

arrow icon Aim for windows that are fairly large on the north-facing side of the house, moderately sized on the east and west sides, and small on the south side.

arrow icon Double-glazing holds the heat in much better than single-glazing and it’s now standard in new homes, but some are better than others. Find out about higher performing ENERGY STAR qualified windows.

arrow icon Find out what to look for in the section Designing a new home.

Soak up the heat with a concrete floor

A concrete slab floor exposed to the sun will soak up heat during the day and release it at night, so consider including one in your home’s design.

Here are some tips…

arrow icon The concrete slab should be well insulated both underneath and around its perimeter.

arrow icon Keep areas that are exposed to the sun uncovered by carpet or rugs, otherwise the concrete won’t soak up and release heat effectively.

Use plenty of insulation

Good insulation is the key to a warm and comfortable house that doesn't cost a fortune to heat.

Here’s a tip…

arrow icon Building Code insulation levels are just a minimum – aim higher if you can.

Did you know?

arrow icon Every two square metres of north-facing window can bring in as much energy as a one kilowatt heater.[1]

[1] EECA Design for the sun, volume 2, fig. 1.8-14.