Just a list of ways to provide heating & cooling naturally while maintaining a normal lifestyle. Solar Cookers are interesting but they don’t qualify. They require you to cook either outside or in a highly modified kitchen. That produces too much disruption to the average lifestyle.
Solar Collection & Blocking
Use solar collectors to heat the pool during summer months and then divert the heated water to the home during the winter
Long awnings protect rooms/windows from light in the summer (when the sun is high), allow it in during the winter (when the sun is low). As an added benefit your windows are protected from the harsh elements as well.
Have a solar powered water tank to at least pre-heat the water. That way a small water heater can handle the needs of a family, if it’s even needed at all.
Solar collectors can be made with sliding glass doors, a few layers of black screen/mesh, black paint, some wood, insulation and metal flashing. According to XXX just one will produce $400 worth of propane.
Trees & Vines can shade your house during the summer but will let light through during the winter when the leaves fall. The South side is the most important side to have vegetation on. If using vines make sure to have a lattice for them to grow on. The roots of vines can cause thousands of dollars of damage if they get into the grout of a chimney. It cost one person I knew $6,000.
Keep roof / house color in mind when considering your latitude. A 1/2 gap between the siding and the house wrap allows for moisture evaporation. It also prevents thermal conduction to the house which can be good or bad.
Concrete (ICF construction) is excellent for thermal mass
Tile floors is better than carpet (throw a rug on top of it for cushioning/softness).
Stone/tile walls are also great in the sunroom – adds thermal mass and is durable
Water Walls or tanks are the best as convection absorbs/releases heat much faster than conduction.
Roman Air Conditioning
Use a black chimney to heat air and pull suck outside air through cool underground pipes.
Stoves that are capable of burning cordwood, pellets and chips
Soapstone fireplaces absorb heat and release it all day