8 Aggressively Eco-Friendly Passive Houses

Matt Shaw Matt Shaw

LEED is great, but the real green fun comes when intricate energy-saving design features are achieved by committing to some early-process design decisions that make your building more fundamentally eco-friendly. This includes southern orientation, integration of heat stacks, thermal masses, and exterior solar shading that doubles as ornament. Here are some of our favorite passive buildings that incorporate passive systems in their design.

© estudoquarto

© estudoquarto

Lineal Passive House by Estudoquarto Studiostanza, Brescia, Italy

This building has an efficient floor plan, relatively compact massing, and is oriented to protect it from the north wind.

© Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS, Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS v/Odd Karl Steinsvik

© Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS, Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS v/Odd Karl Steinsvik

I-Box 120 and Storelvaby Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS v/Odd Karl Steinsvik, Tromsø, Norway

These houses have closed facades that protect from cold winds on the north, but also let in daylight. The house has extra insulation and a heat-recovery system to prevent condensation.

© TECTO ARHITECTURA

© TECTO ARHITECTURA

Passive House by TECTO ARHITECTURA, Suceava, Romania

Large swaths of glass trap heat while letting in daylight. Natural insulation and high-performance windows also serve to minimize energy use.

© Fernanda Vuilleumier Arquitectura

© Fernanda Vuilleumier Arquitectura

OutsideIN House by Fernanda Vuilleumier Arquitectura, Puerto Natales, Chile

This home incorporates a trombe wall, a masonry wall behind a glass window that acts as a thermal mass, collecting and storing heat.

© modostudio

© modostudio

Seaside Single House by modostudio,

Passive solar systems make this house energy-efficient.

© Najjar & Najjar

© Najjar & Najjar

Villa A by Najjar & Najjar

Cantilevers overhang the terraces on the southern and western sides and provide sun protection in summer, and allow sun in during the winter. The passive design is supported by a recuperator in the ground and sun collectors on the roof.

© Abendroth Architekten, Vienna

© Abendroth Architekten, Vienna

Passive house with sun deck by Abendroth Architekten, Gerasdorf bei Wien, Austria

The compact volume of the house and southern orientation allow the gains from the windows to heat the house in the winter.

© Diethelm & Spillmann Architects

© Diethelm & Spillmann Architects

Passivhaus Vogelby Diethelm & Spillmann Architects, Sattel, Switzerland

The materials were chosen to aid in the passive design of the house. A core made of raw concrete and sand-lime plasterwork act as a thermal mass, while the timber structure enables thick insulation.

© MAD Architects

The Cloudscape of Haikou // MAD Architects

Haikou, China

These Renderings Show How to Build Gender Equality into London’s Architecture

Together, the images imagine "how London could be transformed by giant statues of positive female ro le models." They include an asteroid, a tech incubator, a control tower at Heathrow, and a colossal sewing machine, honoring Wollstonecraft, Lovelace, Earhart, and the Dagenham sewing machinists.

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