Building a home using good passive solar design principles can save energy, water and money

WA passive solar home designer specialist.

Design for Seasons are specialists in passive solar homes. Passive solar homes are homes that are energy efficient, eco-friendly and sustainable.

Passive solar design is design that does not require mechanical heating or cooling. Homes that are passively designed take advantage of natural energy flows to maintain thermal comfort for the occupants.

Passive Solar Homes
Passive Solar Homes

The basic design principles for passive solar design include

  • Orientation of the main living areas towards the north
  • Glazing, used to trap the sun’s warmth
  • Thermal mass to store the heat from the sun
  • Insulation to reduce heat loss or heat gain
  • Ventilation to capture cooling breezes

Further detail of these principles can be found under Design Principles on this website.

A great majority of Australian homes are poorly designed and energy inefficient, either too cold or too hot and can be expensive to run. Most of these homes use far more water than necessary and are made of materials that can damage your health and the environment. They may have poor ventilation leading to bad air quality, or dark interiors that rely on artificial lighting as apposed to natural lighting. These can all lead to discomfort for the occupants and extra energy costs to overcome these bad design faults.

Building a home using good passive solar design principles can save energy, water and money, while creating a more enjoyable and comfortable home. The cost of implementing good passive solar design ranges from a net saving to a high up-front investment that will be repaid throughout the life of the home but increase its value in the future.
Costs are dependent on the extent of systems and building elements that are incorporated into the building to achieve ever increasing energy efficiencies.
Incorporating these building elements is dependent on budget and the climatic conditions of the building location. For example, Perth is in a warm temperate zone with a low day/night temperature range, mild to cool winters, and hot summers with generally moderate humidity. These climatic characteristics make it possible to design a passive solar home with all the appropriate design principles for a cost comparable to a conventional and sometimes ill-conceived standard home.

As a passive solar home designer and builder, Design for Seasons can help you achieve a comfortable and energy efficient home now and into the future.

Passive house is like passive solar design but uses design elements that are considered active solar design.

Passive houses capture energy from the sun in the form of heat, as do passive solar houses. Solar capture isn’t the only feature that makes Passive Houses energy efficient. They’re also built with very high levels of insulation, airtight construction and very high performance double glazed windows.

With an airtight house, Passive Houses are built with a ventilation and heat recovery system that constantly supplies fresh air and allows for the re-use of heated air as it cycles through the home. This is the main difference compared to a passive solar designed house. For this reason, they are an active solar design with a constant mechanical system as part of the building design.