There are many ways to implement solar strategies to reduce a home’s energy consumption (both electric and gas). Using a solar hot water (SHW) system to heat the household water is one example. See “Solar Hot Water Simplified” in HP107 for an overview of SHW systems and components.
If you are building your own home, or considering a remodel, there are many passive solar design strategies that can heat (and cool) your home without any mechanical systems. For example, you can heat or ventilate/cool rooms by simply putting in windows and overhangs in the appropriate places. See “Passive Solar Retrofit” in this issue for more information.