Good natural light is a feature many people appreciate in a home. But good natural light can also help with energy efficiency to create a more eco-friendly and sustainable home. Besides helping to illuminate the home and offering scenic views, windows, skylights, and glass walls can also help generate heat to warm your home, helping you to save on energy costs.
Using sunlight to heat and light your home is referred to as passive solar in the green building community. Another example of passive solar that can be used with this technique is thermal mass, which involves placing dense materials that absorb and release sunlight in walls and floors.
Taking advantage of passive solar techniques such as these helps your home maintain a comfortable temperature without relying so heavily on a heating and cooling system, which is expensive and uses a lot of energy.
So how do you harness the energy of the sun to create a daylighting strategy in your own home? Check out these tips:
Have a dark interior room? You can harness the light from an adjacent, perhaps exterior-facing, room by making the upper third or so of the interior wall the rooms share clear glass. This allows the light to permeate the darker space while maintaining privacy.
If clear glass is not an option, you can still use transparent doors or wall panels to allow natural light to filter into the darker space.
Strategically placed windows such as transom windows and interior windows can allow light to permeate even the most difficult to reach spaces.
Vaulted ceilings and clerestories are ways architects help bring daylight into darker areas of the home. These help reflect light from the whole space.
Stairways can be built to where they reflect light from a skylight or have a glazed glass panel as one of their walls.
Besides being eco-friendly and energy-efficient, allowing more natural light into a room makes it appear more welcoming as well as bigger–and who wouldn’t want that?
What is your favorite tip for heating and lighting interiors with natural sunlight?