Basic design elements of a building can improve its energy performance and user comfortability from the outset; at a lesser cost than installing active elements such as solar panels. Essentially, a building can be designed in a way that harnesses the beneficial aspects of its environment. Good passive design can focus on utilising natural ventilation, natural light and solar (thermal) gain, in conjunction with good air tightness and good use of insulation in order to reduce energy costs.
Through design, spaces within a building can be partially heated and cooled using strategies such as ventilation and thermal mass.
Cross ventilation – windows positioned opposite each other to aid heat exhaust from a building
Stack ventilation – uses temperature differences to move air. Low inlets to draw in cool air and high outlets (hot air rises) to draw the heat out.
Thermal Mass – this is a material that can absorb and store heat energy e.g a material such as concrete, stone, tiles etc.
In Summer the thermal mass can help to absorb heat and release that energy at night to help keep a home more comfortable and cooler. In Winter thermal mass can store the heat from sun or other heat sources to be released at night helping to keep more of a stable and comfortable temperature in a home.
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