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.

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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?

4 Comments

  • I have an older home that gets very cold in the winter. Thank you for recommending the daylighting strategy to harness the energy of the sun. I’ll look into installing a skylight window to help me stay warm.

  • Meg Lund says:

    I really love the idea you give to use transparent doors and walls to help bring in natural light to your home or office space! I think that this would help to make the space feel a lot more open and welcoming, and it can help you to eliminate the overuse of artificial lighting as well! This can help you reduce money and help your home look more beautiful, too. Great idea; thank you for sharing!

  • Anatoliy says:

    Cool chosen paintings on the walls. Want the same). Who is the artist?

  • I really love the idea of having windows on the upper third of a tall wall. My parents actually have a very tall exterior wall with only small windows at the floor level to let in light. These pictures are really pretty on this page, so hopefully showing them to my parents while explaining about the additional natural light will help them decide to put in some windows like that.

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