Outdoor: Passive Design, a climate adaptive house

House design for hot dry summer, mild winter climate

Because of the intense sunshine we need: –

  • Pale surfaces (especially the roof) to reflect the sun;
  • Double roof;
  • Reflective foil insulation in the roof and walls is essential;
  • Small north-facing windows, set high under wide eaves. The hotter the summer, the smaller the windows and the wider the eaves. There is a tradeoff, however: small windows reduce night ventilation.
  • No windows on eastern or western side of the house;
  • Shading for any south-facing windows, if house site is north of 23.5 degrees S;
  • Vegetation and/or verandahs around the house, if water supply permits, to provide shade;
  • Earth-sheltered and underground housing are ideally suited to this climate;
  • This is the perfect climate for solar power.

Because of the low humidity of the air: –

  • Evaporative coolers work well in the dry atmosphere, and use little energy;
  • The natural evaporative cooling effect of plants will be specially effective;
  • Water features such as fountains and little garden pools are beneficial, if water supply permits.

Because of the large day/night temperature swing: –

  • Considerable heat-storage capacity (bricks, stone, concrete) is needed in living areas, to keep daytime temperatures down;
  • Bedrooms should be of lighter construction, so they cool quickly at night;
  • Through ventilation on summer nights is essential (check the prevailing wind direction on warm summer nights). Roof-mounted exhaust fans can cool buildings at night by extracting hot air via grilles in the ceiling and replacing it with cool air drawn in through open windows;

Because blowing dust can be a problem in this dry climate: –

  • Vegetation around the house is desirable, to filter dust from the air, by impaction. Check with the Bureau of Meteorology office in your state. How common are dust-storms in the district; what is the usual wind direction when blowing dust is reported? Plant trees to block this wind, if blowing dust is a problem in the area.

If you decide to air-condition some or part of your house, the air-conditioned part of your house needs bulkinsulation.

It has been abundantly clear for some time that the Building Sector is a primary contributor of climate-changing pollutants, and the question is asked: How do we best square our building energy needs with those of our environment and of our checkbooks?

The Passive House concept isnt new to subcontinent.  Yet in west it represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%.


A passive house design includes:

Advanced window technology

Ventilators are placed exceptionally high and usually combine triple-pane insulated and mosquito screens with air-seals and window frames.

Lighting and electrical appliances

Low-energy lighting and high-efficiency electrical appliances minimise energy use.

Passive solar design

Buildings normally have a reduced surface area with windows away from the equator.

Super insulation

Thermal insulation materials reduce cooling transfer INTO space through windows walls, roof and floor.


Warm-Climate Window Tips

  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
  • Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.

Long-Term Savings Tip

  • Installing, high-performance windows will improve your home’s energy performance. While it may take many years for new windows to pay off in energy savings, the benefits of added comfort and improved aesthetics and functionality may make the investment worth it to you. Many window technologies are available that are worth considering.

    Efficient windows may have two or more panes of glass, warm-edge spacers between the window panes, improved framing materials, and low-e coating(s), which are microscopically thin coatings that help keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.

Shopping Tips for Windows

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Check with local utilities to see what rebates or other financial incentives are available for window replacement.
  • High-performance windows have at least two panes of glass and a low-e (low emissivity) coating.
  • Remember, the lower the U-factor, the better the insulation. In colder climates, focus on finding a low U-factor.
  • Low solar heat gain coefficients (SHGCs) reduce heat gain. In warm climates, look for a low SHGC.
  • In temperate climates with both heating and cooling seasons, select windows with both low U-factors and low SHGCs to maximize energy savings.
  • Look for whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center-of-glass, or COG, U-factors and SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers more accurately reflect the energy performance of the entire product.
  • Have your windows installed by trained professionals. Be sure they’re installed according to manufacturer’s instructions; otherwise, your warranty may be void.

A Passive House is a contextual concept e.g its translation would be different in hot climate for cold climates. Basically its a well-insulated, virtually a wind tunneling building that is primarily cooled by chanelling natural wind passages.

Energy consumption through air conditioning is minimized. Any remaining cooling demand is provided by a small source. Addition of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to maximize any cooling process,

Any choice of air ventilators provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 70% of space cooling costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air and light quality.

A Passive House is a comprehensive system. “Passive” describes well this system’s underlying receptivity and retention capacity. Working with natural resources, free solar energy is captured and applied efficiently, instead of relying predominantly on ‘active’ systems to bring a building to ‘zero’ energy.

High performance low maintaninace perforated windows, provide layers of  insulation, a solar tight building shell, brisoleil, limitation of direct sun glare influx and balanced ventilation help cut down extraordinary energy use and carbon emission through air conditioning.

Today, many in the building sector have applied this concept to design, and build towards a carbon-neutral future. Over the last 10 years – from single and multifamily residences, to schools, factories and office buildings – have been designed and built or remodeled to the passive house standard.

The need is to establish institution that extensively monitors and improvises traditional practices  by analyzing and verifying their performance. Even governmental agencies should adopt passive house standards in their policy-making

This is so cool!!
Thislink is rather plain but interesting.

passive house 2