Passive Solar Design

The key to energy conservation

One of the main reasons why the Greeny Flat uses so little energy is because it was conceived, designed, and built following the principles of Passive Solar Design. These can be summarised as a set of 10 simple and common sense concepts that, when applied correctly, use the sun to create a cost-effective method for keeping buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer with little or no additional heating or cooling.

Passive solar design also works well with the affordability goal because it doesn’t add much, if any, to the cost of construction and, by dramatically reducing the need for heating and cooling it helps to save an enormous amount of money over the life of the building.

We have developed an instructional presentation which we have called ‘Passive Solar Design in 10 Simple Steps’. Click to download the complete presentation. Or click on any of the links below for more information about each of the concepts.

Introduction to Passive Solar Design

10 Simple Steps:

  1. Choosing the right site
  2. Orientating the building for maximum solar gain
  3. Placing windows and doors in the right place for winter heat gain and summer ventilation
  4. Correctly sizing the eave overhangs for winter sun and summer shade
  5. Locating rooms for natural light and sun during the day
  6. Providing thermal mass for heat storage
  7. Insulating for heat retention and comfort
  8. Air sealing for energy efficiency
  9. Ventilating for indoor air quality, summer cooling, and heat distribution
  10. Landscaping for shade and shelter


Please note that these guidelines are intended for cooler climates such as the Southern Highlands. The same ten steps can and should be applied to other climate zones but the priorities and resulting building designs will be different.