Natural sunlight use in your home will reduce yourenvironmental footprint. It is the easiest way to use green power in your home. Before electricity and fancy solar panels, houses were designed to take advantage of the renewable solar power of the sun. Longest walls and window glass faced north or south. Roof eves were wide, covering the windows on the south side of houses. There was a calculated roof eave width-to-window height ratio. During the summer, the sun was prevented from reaching the windows, and when the sun’s angle dropped to the winter solstice position, warm rays of sunshine penetrated deep into the houses. Transom windows were installed high on the walls over exterior doors. Fresh air ventilation allowed warm air rising to the ceiling to be moved by natural convective air movement with no energy cost incurred.
Even if you are not designing or building a new home, you can learn about how to use sunlight for warmth through the many solar energy and alternative power sites on the web. Government agencies such as the US Department of Energy and California’s Consumer Energy Center have useful information for consumers interested in green power on their websites.
Step 1: Dusty, dirty windows block out the warming rays of the sun
If an applied window film can reduce the amount of heat coming through glass by 50 to 70 percent, affecting the need for HVAC, imagine what a dusty, dirty window could do in the winter if you are trying to stay warm. Use eco-friendly white vinegar to clean both the inside and outside of your windows.
Step 2: Layer your window coverings to take advantage of natural sunlight
During winter’s daylight hours, penetrate rooms with sunlight to increase warmth in your home. Use a light-colored, loose-weave curtain as a daylight layer. Leave curtains open on south-facing windows. Close window coverings at night, use a window covering layer that is insulated. The insulated covering can be used during the summer to keep the warm sunlight from entering and heating the house. Before electricity, mirrors were strategically placed in all of the rooms to reflect sunlight; adding them will warm and brighten the room.