Just the term “passive solar” gives one visions of rooms filled with muted daylight, quickly fading as the sun moves across the sky. But as we discover new ways natural light can be used to meet our heating and illumination needs, designs for passive solar homes are becoming more robust and creative.
The ideal house would be designed in such a way that its rooms would enjoy a maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day, and that sunlight would be trapped and repurposed as heat during the cooler hours. Planned to be fully compliant with the PassiveHouse standard for energy efficient building, the Lozen Passive House could do all that, and then some.
The design team took on this challenge as the entry to an architectural competition, but their painstaking process will certainly serve as inspiration for green building enthusiasts the world over. Trial and error, starting from a narrow single-storey house with all rooms facing south for maximum solar gains, through an open plan narrow house with long east and west facades for best natural ventilation, helped the team choose a nearly cubical, two-and-a-half story, semi-sunken building as their ideal shape.
“For better winter solar gains we have incorporated into the design a large picture window on the south façade and up to 30 percent glazing on thewest and east facades, while having minimum openings on the north one,” write the designers. “The whole second floor is open plan in order to optimize natural ventilation with predominant winds in the area from the west and the east. For better insulation of the building skin we have buried the mechanical, storage and sleeping areas as much as possible.”