Renewable or alternative energy sources are energy sources other than nonrenewable fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas. Solar energy, or energy from the sun, is one renewable energy source. One type of solar energy is known as passive solar. A passive solar heating system uses no pumps, fans, or mechanical devices. Insulation and heat storage are important factors in such a system. Heat can be stored using thermal masses, also called heat sinks. Thermal masses can keep a home from heating or cooling too fast. In this experiment, you will examine the effectiveness of a heat sink. You will then use what you learn to design and build a model solar home.


  • Measure temperature.
  • Find the relationship between thermal mass and the ability of a solar home to retain heat.
  • Design, build, and test a model solar home.