Natural ventilation relies on the wind and the "chimney effect" to keep a building cool.
Your home's windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices, such as pumps, fans or electrical controls to move the solar heat.
Radiant floor heating has been used for centuries. The Romans channeled hot air under the floors of their villas. The Koreans channeled hot flue gases under their floors before venting them up the chimney. In the 1930s, architect Frank Lloyd Wright piped hot water through the floors of many of his buildings. Some home builders' surveys have shown that, if given a choice, most new home owners prefer radiant floor heat over other types of systems.
In our modern, high-tech society, we don't think much about some of the electronic gadgets in our homes. Take, for example, the ever-present thermostat—a staple of American households for decades. It usually takes the shape of an unassuming box on the wall, but that modest device controls the comfort of your family on the coldest day in January and the hottest day in July.
There are several methods to reduce or even replace the use of an air conditioning system by using non-mechanical ways to keep your home cool when it's hot outside.
Adding (retrofitting) a solar space heating system to your home is one way to combat increasing energy costs and to raise your home's market value. The two major types of solar retrofits are active systems (requiring mechanical energy and hardware such as pumps and fans to distribute heat) and passive systems (which depend on the natural circulation of a fluid for heat movement).
Electricity is a versatile but precious energy source. Because it is needed for refined power equipment such as computers and medical machinery, when it is used for less-refined needs such as heating it should be used as efficiently as possible.
Older space conditioning systems (more than 10 years old) are often unreliable and much less efficient than a modern system. When it's time for a new replacement, choosing one of the correct size (heating and/or cooling output) is critical to getting the best efficiency, comfort, and lowest maintenance and operating costs over the life of the new system. Some national surveys have determined that well over half of all HVAC contractors do not size heating and cooling systems correctly.
There is a wide variety of indoor pollution contributors - radon, tobacco smoke, household chemicals. Use this guide to evaluate your home.
Humidifiers can alleviate common nuisances brought on by winter heating, but without regular maintenance, they can promote the growth of biological organisms in the home.