Remember the old survival hack of starting a fire using a magnifying glass to harness the power of the sun? I like to think of solar energy in a similar way.

The sun, writes Scientific American magazine, is a “power plant in the sky,” bathing “Earth in ample energy to fulfill all the world’s power needs many times over. It doesn’t give off carbon dioxide emissions. It won’t run out. And it’s free.”

Solar energy is integral in boosting energy efficiency in smart and sustainable homes, providing clean and reliable electricity, and helping home owners save money on their utility bills.

There are three main ways of incorporating solar energy into new home design, including:

Passive solar design, where windows are placed in new home construction to take advantage of the sun in the winter and to avoid direct sun in the summer.  

Solar thermal uses the sun’s energy to heat water that can be used for showering, washing clothes and for washing dishes. It’s also being used in radiant floor heating applications. 

Finally, there’s solar electric, which generate electricity directly from the sun using photovoltaic devices – think solar panels.

Since the cost of installing a home solar energy system has dramatically declined over the last few years, going solar is more cost-efficient when designing a new home. You take advantage of both the environmental and financial benefits at the get-go.

In the words of the Beatles, “Here comes the sun, and I say, it’s alright.”


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