Passive solar design

Surrey Hills house dining room
Dining room and roof windows

North facing roof windows direct sunlight onto suspended slab in the Surrey Hills house.

Passive solar design uses a combination of windows, shading and thermal mass to regulate temperature inside a building.

Passive solar design features include:

  • Orienting buildings so that north-facing windows (southern hemisphere) allow sunlight to enter living spaces.
  • Using sunlight from north facing windows (southern hemisphere) to heat living spaces when you want to warm a building
  • Using thermal mass (such as masonry walls and concrete slabs) to regulate internal temperature variations.
    • In summer, thermal mass can keep a building a cool during hot days (if you keep the sun off it)
    • In winter, you can allow thermal mass to warm up in sunlight so it can give off heat during the evenings
  • Using shading systems to keep sunlight away from North, East and West facing windows when you want to keep a building cool

In the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows get the sunlight.

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