Passive solar explained

passive solar design

What is passive solar design?

Passive solar design is a very premise on how to use the sun to heat your home in the winter. This fantastic video by Community Rebuilds intern Rebecca Barrett sums up the fundamentals.

It’s so simple, right?

All the houses I build with my company Hartwyn use these design principles.

Largest windows are on the South side and are sheltered from the hot midday summer sun. Thermal mass in the form of earthen floors, clay plasters or rammed earth walls store the heat from the sun. Highly insulating natural fibres keeps the warmth inside to keep you cosy.

Groundwork Natural Building Video Series

straw bale home

Sculpted by hand from a mixture of clay, sand and straw, building houses out of cob is a full mind and body experience; one that requires patience. But these homes are worth the wait!

Building on ancient traditions, today’s timber framers and selective loggers are forging a sustainable future. Visit the people behind some of the most intriguing wooden structures in British Columbia

It seems counterintuitive that a framework packed with straw bales could create such a sturdy home. In fact, the straw acts as a natural vapour permeable insulation that allows these buildings to breathe.

A rammed earth wall is durable, energy efficient, and made from the most abundant material on the planet. Learn how these builders and homeowners applied this ancient technique to create timeless contemporary homes.

**I don’t agree with adding cement to a rammed earth wall. It doesn’t need it, and it actually changes the way the walls handle moisture for the worse while making the walls too rigid. Cement has been added over the years because people don’t understand. It’s such a shame!