Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Exploring Passive Solar Heating


Alternative energy sources are energy sources other than the non-renewable fossil fuels, including 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 as well as to help them to remain cool in the summer.

In this experiment, you will investigate design features that retain heat. You will monitor temperature and determine the cooling rate of a model solar home that has been heated by a lamp representing the sun.


  • Understand how the sun can be used to heat homes or buildings.
  • Predict how variables affect the performance of a solar thermal collector.
  • Measure temperature change in water from solar energy and record results.
  • Identify which design choices make a solar thermal collector most efficient.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment 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?

Experiment 22 from Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Renewable Energy with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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