An-Najah National University

Majdi Majjad


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  • Saturday, October 19, 1996
  • Using of Passive Solar Systems in Buildings
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  • Introduction


    In the beginning of this century man began to rely on fossil fuel for energy,  architects and builders controlled the inside environments of many buildings artificially,  there was no regard to energy efficiency, for taking advantage of nature.  Buildings were located on hills opposed to strong winds or in sweltering valleys.  Windows of any size and in any  quality were placed on any side of a building.  No longer there was a need to rely on opening windows or putting shades to cool or warm the structure.  Great glass office buildings and towers became a common sight.  There acres of windows couldn’t open to take advantage of natural air movement and temperature changes.  Buildings were erected without regard for orientation or energy efficiency.  but now, after years of unchecked use and misuse of energy the end of cheap fossil fuels can be seen. Today,  there is a need to return to the energy efficient principles used in earlier times.

    We need not sacrifice quality or comfort in order to design buildings that place less demand on energy resources.  Natural systems can be used to regulate heating and cooling as effectively as artificially controlled environments.  But certain architectural design techniques must be adhered to achieve  maximum natural energy efficiency.

    Solar gains through windows ,  walls , modified walls ,  sky lights,  clerestory windows,  and roof sections provide an opportunity to dramatically reduce the total heating energy requirements of a building.  When the thermal energy flow is wholly by natural means ,  such as radiation , conduction, and natural convection, and when solar energy contributes more than half of the total outside energy requirements , then the building is referred to as a passive solar heating structure.

    Passive solar heating works very well.  This has been demonstrated time and again in a wide variety of buildings located in a wide variety of climates.  The occupants of these buildings testify to their comfort, to the ease of their natural operations and especially to their low fuel bills.

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Majdi Zuhair Majjad
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