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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Passive solar design can be an effective means of reducing conditioning loads in residential buildings by utilizing free solar heat during the heating season, and blocking unwanted solar heat during the cooling season. The objective of this thesis was to use energy modeling software to simulate the effect that incorporating passive solar design strategies into typical New England style houses would have on their energy usage for heating and cooling. The designs that were studied were Capes, Colonials, and Saltboxes. Four versions of increasing energy efficiency were studied for each style. After measuring baseline energy usage for each model, four passive solar variables were incorporated: orientation, allocation of windows to southern façade, shading devices, and thermal mass. After determining the ideal orientation of each building, 300 combinations of window allocation, shading device depth, and amount of thermal mass were simulated for each model. From this pool of simulations, the model with the lowest conditioning costs was selected and compared to its respective baseline design. As a general trend for each style, as the level of energy efficiency decreased, the savings from incorporating passive solar design increased. For the colonial models, the savings ranged from $422-$150. For the Saltbox models, the annual savings ranged from$398-$116. For the Cape models, the savings ranged from $303-$75.


First Advisor

Alexander Schreyer