Utilisation of Passive Solar Energy

The term "Utilisation of Passive Solar Energy" was first introduced in the seventies of the last century. At that time, the criterion of "adding auxiliary energy" was used to clearly distinguish between active solar energy applications. When auxiliary units (such as fans) were used, the systems were referred to as hybrid systems. However, the delimitation between passive and active systems remained fluid: for a window equipped with automatic shading devices is both passive and hybrid. Only recently, the term "Passive Solar Energy Utilisation" has been defined in a more realistic and precise manner. According to the new definitions passive solar systems convert solar radiation into heat by means of the building structure itself, i.e. by the transparent building envelope and solid storage elements. Utilisation of passive solar energy (often also referred to as passive solar architecture) is thus characterised by the use of the building envelope as absorber and the building structure as heat store. In most cases, solar energy is transferred without any intermediate heat transfer devices. However, also this definition does not always allow for a clear differentiation of active and passive solar utilisation.

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