Dark Gravel – A Simple Passive Solar Strategy

If you have looked into solar energy as an approach for heating your home, solar panels are generally the first things that come up. There are, however, other approaches to utilizing the sun’s heat for your home, one of which is dark gravel
The power of the sun is immense. The energy in one day of sunshine is more than the world needs. The key question is, how do we harness this power?

Passive solar heating represents a rudimentary technique of utilizing the intrinsic energy of the sun for heating functions. You understand the principle of passive solar heating when you open the door of your automobile after it has been sitting in summertime direct sunlight for hours. Hot air flows out.

You may not want to do extensive work to make your home more passive solar efficient. A main problem is that a home has to be constructed with a particular orientation to the sun. This orientation permits the home to optimize the heat penetration throughout the year. There is one little trick that most homes can utilize to take advantage of solar heating.

Specific products have high thermal masses. This essentially means they absorb the sun’s heat during the day and then slowly releases that stored heat, long after the sunlight is gone. You, my friend, can benefit from this.

Dark gravel has a high thermal mass. It sucks up sunlight like a sponge and will radiate heat for hours after the sun goes down. To take advantage of passive solar strategies, you can get some of the benefits by utilizing dark gravel in a strategic way.
The concept is to position dark gravel on the ground below any windows on the ground floor of your home. During the summertime, shade the gravel with landscaped plants, given that you do not want extra heat at that time. When winter arrives, expose the gravel. It will suck up the energy of the sun throughout the day then radiate it vertically through the windows for a few hours after dark. This produces an island of heat and greatly reduces the release of heat from the interior of the home via the windows.

Certainly, this dark gravel method is not the only solution for your heating needs. However, you should be able to see a difference in your heating bills of possibly five percent depending on the design of your house. This could mean cost savings for you throughout the years with a small amount of effort involved.

Passive solar heating represents a panel free technique of harnessing energy from the sun for heating functions. You most likely are not going to tear down your home to benefit from passive solar techniques. However, you can gain some benefit by utilizing dark gravel in the manner described above.

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