ACTIVE SOLAR is a term referring to solar heating systems that use mechanical, moving parts to collect heat from the sun and convert it into power which can be used.

A conventional heating or AC system represents a small amount of embodied energy but uses a lot of wasted energy in the operating mode. Asolar heating system requires less actual operating energy but may have a higher amount of embodied energy, which will normally be quickly offset.

PASSIVE SOLAR is used to mean a unique building method which makes the building adapt to the climate by design. Buildings “capture” solar heat and store the energy in liquid (water and other) then release that energy on demand. Natural lighting replacing light fixtures is also a form of passive solar.

Tight building envelopes (the outer skin) greatly reduce the need for other types of heating and cooling. If well designed, a passive home will even have less embodied energy than a similar conventional house.

LIFE CYCLE COSTING estimates the total costs of materials, construction, operation and maintenance of the structure over its projected life. Buildings and personal homes that use less energy will have a better life cycle costing (LCC) than others using conventional methods.

For more information on how you can build more responsibly, searchenvironmental construction or green building using the Bing Custom Search Box over to the right. For more terms and definitions, search new environmental building terms or ecological dictionary.

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