A Passive Solar House or ‘Passive design’ is a building that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable indoor environment while minimising energy use. Passive solar design or passive design consists of the following elements: orientation, shading, glazing, natural ventilation, thermal mass, thermal insulation.

Passive houses combine thermal comfort, indoor air quality and low energy consumption. The indoor temperature varies between 21deg to 25deg all year round, with almost no air cooling or heating system in place. Passive House has five basic principles: thermal insulation, airtightness, high-performance windows, ventilation with heat recovery system, thermal bridge reduced design.

The main difference between a passive house and a solar house is the ventilation and the airtightness of the building. Passive Solar Houses rely on natural ventilation, whereas Passive Houses rely on high performing mechanical ventilation system called HRV or ERV that distributes fresh and filtered air 24/7. The Solar Passive House requires people to be at home to open and close the windows. The users must be active for the Solar Passive House to perform, whereas the Passive House is autonomous.

A common myth with Passive Houses is the inability to open windows. However, this is untrue. Windows in passive houses can be opened, and natural ventilation is utilised on a beautiful day. When it is too cold or hot outside, your Passive House maintains a comfortable indoor temperature without the need for a heating or cooling system. So, it’s healthy, economical and sustainable!

When you combine the best aspects of a Solar Passive House with the principles of a Passive House, you can achieve a net-zero home in your new build. This is a home that produces as much clean energy as it uses annually.