by Texas Homesteader ~
Solar energy use can be FREE! Read about how passive solar energy can be used in almost any home for no additional money and without buying special equipment.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
It seems being environmentally friendly is all the rage now. But for some reason I was bitten by the environmental bug years before it became the thing to do.
I was using my own reusable bags well before it was fashionable. It’s funny the strange looks I received from clerks when I asked them to place my purchases into my own canvas bag.
I used to joke with RancherMan that if I could get a nickel for every time the puzzled cashier exclaimed “are you SURE??“ that I could pay off all our bills!
Passive Solar Home Building
Because I naturally have such a “tread softly on the earth” mindset it was primary in my mind when we built our home in NE Texas.
We incorporated many energy efficiency features as well as passive solar features into its construction. Our NE Texas home was built into a rectangle with the long sides facing north and south.
Deep porch overhangs were added to the north side to protect windows from that hot summer sun. An open floorplan and a huge skylight in my kitchen assures free natural light bathes our home daily.
But not everyone is in the building phase of their home so I thought I’d pass on some good news. You can use simple passive solar principles and get solar energy for FREE!
Using Window Coverings To Save Money
But one of the easiest no-cost ways to use solar energy in your home is with the use of your window coverings.
In the warmer months you can close your drapes to cover those sunny windows and keep that heat from coming into your home.
But in the cooler months the opposite is true. Open up those coverings on sunny windows and let the warming sun come through!
You can also use your windows to allow natural light into a room. If you have an open floorplan even better because light spills into larger areas of your home.
We have 2″ blinds as our main window coverings and heavy curtains/valances for the decorative covering and for cold-weather closing.
That way we can easily open and close the blinds to suit the conditions. Since we have an open floorplan actual electrical lights are not even needed until nightfall.
And remember, How You Position Those Blinds when you open them can have an impact too.
If you can see sunshine on the floor, heat is coming in. Good in the winter months, not so good in summer.
Using Mirrors To Reflect Natural Sunlight
And if you’re trying to get more free passive solar sunlight into your home, how about this?
RancherMan made me a large, rustic, Barn-Wood Mirror for me several years ago. I love it for so many reasons: The fact that he made it for me, that it’s using repurposed materials such as the large mirror from Goodwill.
Plus the fact that it features reclaimed wood from our 1880’s Barn as well as 1880’s Elwood barbed wire embellishments.
But where to put it? I purposely hung it on a wall adjoining a large window. Light from the window hits this mirror & is reflected even further into our home.
Pretty AND functional. What’s not to love?
So look around when hanging a mirror in your home. Is there a good place where it can take advantage of spreading that free sunlight in your home too?
That Sunshine-Fresh Aroma For Laundry
One of my favorite ways to use passive solar energy is with my solar clothes dryer. 😉
We own a nice gas-powered dryer but I use it only in emergencies such as when one of the grandbabies has dirtied up her clothes and they need to be washed and dried before she heads home again.
My laundry methods are simple. I love to use my own Homemade Laundry Detergent, then hang our clean clothes outside to dry.
The delightful aroma that is imparted into the fabric cannot be duplicated for any price by any of the laundry-aisle moguls. But Mother Nature provides it for FREE!
Oddly enough this has turned into one of my more pleasant chores, standing under that beautiful blue Texas sky listening to the chatter of the birds around me as I hang our clothes out to dry.
I somehow feel a closeness with my grandmother as I complete this chore, remembering as a child how I would stand next to her and hand her the clothes to go on the line.
Fixing Crystallized Honey
What about using passive solar energy for Fixing Crystallized Honey? Don’t throw away that precious honey just because it’s gotten thick & crystallized.
Set that jar of crystallized honey where the sun can heat it up and melt it back into that smooth honey sweetness you love. For free!
And how about using the sun for other things such as brewing Sun Tea? I’m always using the sun to brew our tea, whether winter or summer. But especially during those hot & humid Texas summer months.
And why not? The sun brews me a delicious refreshing drink for free while keeping that heat & humidity outside where it belongs.
If you want to go a step further you can even use the sun to cook your food!
You can check out all of my Solar-Cooking posts for ideas.
Solar Lights Can Be Beautiful
If you want to dive even deeper into solar energy there are many other ways to use the sun for heating water, generating electricity, or recharging portable electronics.
The web is full of ideas and the technology is getting less expensive all the time.
And we loved it so much we made another one Solar Light Using a Cedar Trunk and used a rope accent for that one.
I love it because it’s a natural accent piece to our garden and provides light to the sidewalk leading up to our home as well. All using the power of the sun.
Watch For Opportunities To Use Solar Power
So keep your eyes open for opportunities to use the power of the sun using easy passive solar principles.
As I’ve shown in this post, you don’t necessarily need to retrofit your home with solar panels to take advantage of that free resource.
It’s easy to use the sun’s energy for FREE!
Links In This Post:
- Cities Banning Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
- Baking Bread Outside In A Solar Oven
- Saving Electricity In Your Home
- How You Open Blinds Can Save You Money
- Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
- Brewing Sun Tea Using The Power Of The Sun
- Don’t Throw Away That Crystallized Honey
- *Solar Oven
- Melting Down & Purifying Beeswax
- Reclaimed Barn-Wood Mirror
- Bois d’Arc Solar Light Feature
- Bois d’Arc Trees Are Both Beautiful & Functional
- Solar Light Feature Using a Cedar Trunk
Looking For More Solar-Cooking Recipes?
- Emergency Preparedness On The Homestead
- Using FREE Solar Energy Instead Of Kitchen Appliances
- Meatloaf In A Solar Oven
- Cheesy Chile-Chicken Casserole
- Boneless Breaded Pork Chops
- SW Chicken w/Seasoned Brown Rice
- BBQ Pork Sandwiches
- Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Pumpkin Bread
- Chunky Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Baking Bread In A Solar Oven
- Cooking Hard-Boiled Eggs In A Solar Oven
- Baking Potatoes In A Solar Oven
- Brewing Tea With The Sun
You can see our other SOLAR oven articles here
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