Ceramic tile and natural stone are some of the most sustainable products in the building industry for many reasons. Natural stone is extracted from the Earth and ceramic tile is produced from a combination of some of Earth’s key ingredients. They both are very passive solar effective when used and installed correctly. This means that they have an innate capacity to store heat or cold, emitting it later, to either warm or cool a house. A nice way to minimize heating and cooling costs!
The home should be designed so that there are windows or sun rooms on the south side of the building where there’s the most exposure to sunshine, particularly in the wintertime. In the wintertime open the curtains and let the sun stream in to heat up the tile or stone floor. At night the floor will radiate the stored heat into the room so that less energy is needed to warm the house.
On the other hand, in summertime, even though the sun will be further north so the south side of a home doesn’t get as much sun exposure, close the curtains so the sun can’t shine in and warm up the floor. By doing so, coolness that has stored up in the tiles from the night before will be protected. This then allows the release of the cool temperature into the room during the day so less energy is needed to air condition the house during the day.
These benefits are further increased if the ceramic tile (this includes porcelain tile since it is a type of ceramic tile) or stone is installed over a concrete substrate. The concrete has the same characteristics as the tile and stone in that it will provide added storage of heat or cold increasing the capacity and benefits of passive solar effects.