Passive Solar Heating While Raising Fresh Organic Produce


Image27 Many people are searching for ways to go green, save energy and money, and to live healthier. By building a lean-to style greenhouse onto your home, you can take advantage of the sun’s rays to grow fresh, organic vegetables and even citrus trees to help provide fresh food for your family.

If you do some pre-planning into the design you can also include some passive solar heating systems to help heat your home during the winter. There are also designs to passively pre-heat your water to reduce the amount of electricity or gas it takes to produce usable hot water.

By incorporating another small room onto your house, you can build your own greenhouse/sunroom. This will help to increase the value of your home and provide hours of enjoyment for you and your family. Depending on the size, you might wish to incorporate a small breakfast table and chairs so that the family can enjoy a relaxing snack or meal together enjoying the suns’ natural warmth.

The greenhouse portion can be made as decorative as you like with terrraced beds, hanging baskets, small potted citrus trees, and possibly a small fountain or pond. On the other hand, you might prefer it to be a fully functional greenhouse growing fruit and vegetables year-round, starting your outdoor garden plants in seed trays early to maximize your growing seasons, and to keep your own houseplants in good health.

Doors can be added between the greenhouse and your home to keep the unwanted heat out during the summer while letting the additional heat into your home to help heat it during the winter. By adding multiple 55 barrels filled with water or sand, you will be able to hold the heat in the greenhouse longer each day since the water or sand in the barrels would heat up during the day. This heat would then be released slowly back into the greehouse/sunroom as the temperature of the air drops once the sun goes down. It’s sort of like a battery backup storing heat during the day while the sun is ‘charging’ the barrels and then once the sun has set the stored heat would be used to heat the room.

You can customize this set-up in any way you wish depending on how involved you want to get and your budget. In colder climates many people install pipes in the floor to help warm the floors. The same system can be used in conjunction with the greenhouse. The barrels would contain heated water, additional pipes could be run in the floor of the greenhouse and the warm water can be run into the house under the flooring to warm the floors.

Be creative, ask questions, figure out what you want from the system, and then build it. If you’re interested in conservation as well, look around for the materials to build your project at building sites and renovations. Quite often a contractor will let you have what they call scraps just so they don’t have to pay to have it hauled off. If you get permission to scavenge, make sure you clean up after yourself and don’t leave a mess. This will make it easier to get the contractor to allow someone else to scavenge in the future.

There are ways for everyone to do their part to help our planet, save valuable resources, and to live better healthier lives. Be creative, put a little effort into it, and find a better way of living using natural solar energy.

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