Passive Design Features
Passive design features take advantage of a building and its site to minimize energy use. Efficient passive design utilizes solar energy and windows, walls, and floors to distribute heat in the winter and reject heat in the summer, which can help you save energy and money.
What can you do about it?
Shade windows on south-facing walls with trees.
Trees can reduce summer temperatures significantly, especially when they’re located on the south and west sides of a building. Large specimens that shade the roof and walls from the afternoon sun can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 8 to 10 degrees F.
Install clear (uncoated) double-paned glass and use insulated blinds.
In the winter time, double-paned clear glass will let in a large amount of sun while limiting heat loss. Additionally, using insulated blinds at night will further prevent heat loss in the winter.
Add a light shelf to existing windows.
A light shelf can be used to reflect natural daylight that enters a building. Light shelves make the lighting in rooms much more efficient and as a result you don't need to worry about using as much electricity for lighting.
Add overhangs, awnings, and porches to home's exterior.
Overhangs, awnings, and porches shade in certain seasons and prevent buildings from overheating. Overhangs and shading devices should shade south-facing windows during the summer months, and allow full sun on windows during the wintertime.