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Is it Time to Contact a Consultant?

Passive Building Design Ideas for Keeping Your House Comfortable Year-Round

by Lori Silva

Should you buy or build your home?

As opposed to buying a prebuilt house, building a home presents you with an opportunity to create a personalised space that matches your lifestyle and family situation. If you want to stay comfortable year-round and keep your home's heating and cooling costs at a minimum, consider building a passive house. 

A passive house is designed to remain naturally cool in the summer heat and warm in winter weather, thus reducing or eliminating the need for additional air conditioning and heating at home. Ultimately, this helps to reduce household expenses.

Check out these passive building design solutions for keeping your house cool during the summer months and warm when winter arrives.

Use thermal mass materials

Thermal mass materials are building materials with a high ability to absorb and store heat. In winter weather, these materials can absorb heat from direct sunlight and re-radiate it throughout the home when temperatures become colder. In summer, they can absorb unwanted heat, maintaining the building's coolness.

Some common examples of thermal mass materials include the following:

  1. Concrete
  2. Brick
  3. Stone
  4. Rammed earth
  5. Ceramic tiles

Each material will absorb and release heat at varying speeds, so understanding the varied options and their potential implications for your project is an essential part of the building design process.

Keep in mind that using materials high in thermal mass does not substitute the need for quality residential insulation.

Block out the heat

Although windows are a source of light and ventilation for buildings, they can let in the heat from outside and make your interiors unbearably hot. Therefore, it's important to install window treatments to help block out the sun.

Solar shades and blinds are a superb choice for windows in rooms that are directly exposed to the sun. In addition to blocking out the light, they can reduce glare and provide UV protection, preventing fading of your home's interior furnishings.

Select the right exterior finishes

The painting coatings or cladding systems that you choose for your house are not just important for cosmetic reasons but for the home's energy efficiency as well. The right exterior finish will increase the energy efficiency of your home by insulating it against unwanted heat and cold, resulting in more comfortable indoor temperatures.

If your house construction site is located in a hot climate, for example, installing a cool roof can help you beat the heat. The light colour of your roof will help to divert solar radiation away from your home, keeping you cool in hot weather.

Passive house designers combine structural and architectural design elements to help clients achieve their new house construction goals. Contact a building designer to learn more.