This is a very practical question; the underlying principles are, I imagine, extremely well-known.
I'm buying a new place in the northern hemisphere (49° N) with lots of southern (or rather SES) exposure. I'm putting quite a bit of thought (together with an architect) into how to improve its energy performance. I'm particularly interested in passive heating and cooling. I have actually just written a little simulation that lets me see where direct sunlight will fall at a particular date and time:
What kind of material do I want on e.g. cabinet doors to absorb direct sunlight during winter days and then give it back as heat in the course of the day or evening? (The doors would be where the sun simply doesn't fall during summer months.) Does a waxed hardwood floor absorb more sunlight than a vitrified one? What should one do during the summer if one doesn't want to just pull the shutters all the way down - use light-colored rugs? (Of what material?)
(Climate zone Cfb. Heat waves during the summer are a thing; AC is not. It can be rather cloudy during the winter, so it's unclear to me that I will be able to get much passive heating, but every bit helps.)