If you’re planning to build a home or commercial premises, you will have probably come across the term ‘solar passive design’.

So, what exactly is it?

In a nutshell, solar passive design makes the best use of your environment to reduce the need for heating or cooling appliances, saving the average household around 40% on electricity. A solar passive home is designed to use as little energy as possible to cool your home in summer and heat it in winter.

North-facing windows are ideal.

There are a number of aspects to solar passive design, including:


By positioning your home to absorb the least amount of sun in summer and the most in winter, you will drastically reduce energy required for temperature control. The position of windows is important too; placing as many windows as possible on the northern side of your home, and reducing windows to the east and west, will protect your home from unwanted sun penetration in summer and allow for more sun absorption in winter.


The next important consideration is layout. Living rooms, kitchens, and areas you spend time in during the day should be north-facing. This will reduce lighting needs during the daytime and help make living areas warmer during winter days.

Living areas facing the north promote natural light.


Insulation is an important investment for reducing your home’s energy consumption. Using high quality insulation will cost you more initially, but will save you significantly into the future.


Garden design can also play a key role in solar passive design. A garden enhances nature’s evaporative cooling process; it will cool the air entering your home – and clean it. Planting deciduous trees close to your home will provide wonderful shade in summer and allow the sun in during the winter months.

Well-designed gardens will help keep your house cool.

Find the right block

While you can apply solar passive design to any block of land, finding the right block will facilitate optimum benefits. A block where the longest boundaries are north-facing is ideal. This will allow for a building with the maximum number of north-facing windows. You may wish to avoid blocks where the street frontage faces the north, as this may mean you waste this valuable outlook on the garage.

Solar passive design allows you to take advantage of your environment, using what is freely available, to lower your energy needs. It makes perfect sense.