Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Investigation of Passive Solar Heating

Figure from experiment 30 from Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry


Alternative energy sources are energy sources other than the nonrenewable fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Solar energy, or energy from the sun is one energy alternative. In passive solar heating, the sun’s energy is used to heat buildings without the use of pumps or fans to distribute the collected heat. Certain design features can be used to warm buildings and retain heat in the winter and help them to remain cool in the summer. In this experiment, you will be investigating design features that retain heat.


In the Preliminary Activity, you will monitor temperature and determine the cooling rate of a model solar house that has been heated by a lamp representing the sun.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about passive solar heating before you choose and investigate a researchable question dealing with heat retention in solar houses.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will use the class research results as you alter the model house in preparation for a contest to see which group can produce the best modified model solar house, as determined by the lowest cooling rate.

Sensors and Equipment

This investigation features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry »

Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Seasons and Angle of Insolation
2A Local Weather Study
3Investigating Dissolved Oxygen
4Water Quality
5Long Term Water Monitoring
6Water Treatment
7Investigating Salinity
8Soil Temperature
9Soil Salinity
10Soil pH
11Soil Moisture
12Soil and Acid Rain
13Managing Garden Soil Moisture
14Cell Respiration (CO2)
15Biodiversity in Ecosystems
16Biochemical Oxygen Demand
17Water Cycle Column Investigations
18Decomposition Column Investigations
19Ecocolumn Investigations
20Global Warming
21UV Investigations
22Comparing Sunscreens
23Primary Productivity
24Modeling Population Growth
25Insulation Study
26Fossil Fuels
27Energy Conversion
28Wind Power
29Photovoltaic Cells
30Investigation of Passive Solar Heating
31The Effect of Acid Deposition on Aquatic Ecosystems
32Measuring Particulates
33Investigating Indoor Carbon Dioxide Concentrations
34A Pollution Study

Investigation 30 from Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry Lab Book

<em>Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry</em> book cover

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