Passive Solar Heating Homes

Emma Swanson

During the winter months, everybody is trying their best to keep their homes as warm as possible. Sometimes the power goes out and the heater stops working. This is why Environmental Science teacher Michelle Bogue is teaching her students the methods and science behind preserving energy inside your home.

The students were instructed to bring in a shoe box that they would soon turn into their passive solar heating homes. Told that they would be placing their homes outside to test their energy efficient homes, they had to alter the box in whatever way they thought best. The only requirements being 75% of ‘available living space’ in the home, an opening for the thermometer to measure the temperature inside, and windows covering at least 20% of the wall’s total area.

Students learned in class the different passive solar elements such as placing your home with windows facing the south, insulation, and air sealing the windows.

“My favorite part was cutting the styrofoam and seeing how much insulation I could fit in my house,” senior Molly Schroder said.

However, the trick is to put a small cup of water inside your solar home. This way the sun will heat up the cup of water creating more moisture in the air and more energy to drive up the thermostat.

“I was impressed with most students getting traditional ideas and some doing the research for more unique ideas,” Mrs. Bogue said.

After students place their homes, they will measure the temperature before and after to test how well they preserved their homes.