June 5, 2020

4 Steps to a Sustainable Passive Solar Home

4 Steps to a Sustainable Passive Solar Home

 The best way to plan for the future is to build it…

We understand technology and we understand buildings. Canterwood Partnership applies the latest thinking and technology in building design and construction to develop projects of diverse scales ranging from renovations to greenbuilds. Our services harness all the possibilities offered by technology to create buildings which elevate lifestyle in perfect harmony with their surroundings, offering our clients ultimate, future-proof homes which balance sustainability and technology. 

Here are our 4 steps to consider when planning your sustainable passive solar home:

  1. Site Orientation

We get to know your building site and take note of the natural environment, identify seasonal recurrences, prevailing wind patterns, the path of the sun over the land and how best to incorporate natural resources such as trees or rocks. Taking care to understand your site will increase the energy efficiency of your home while decreasing the impact on the natural environment while allowing us to use it’s benefits in the design to maintain effective heating and cooling of your living environment at an optimal temperature all year round.

There is something quite exceptional about a structure that feels like it belongs exactly where it is. A feeling that the design has emerged from the site to become an integral part of its environment. This practice sets apart the outstanding design projects of our generation from the merely functional and is a driving force behind all of Canterwood Partnership’s work.

  1. Passive Solar

Let the orientation of your site guide the design of your home, the plan of the rooms and the angle of your building on the property. This ancient building practice is called ‘passive solar’ and due to the focus on sustainability is experiencing a welcome revival. 

The ideal orientation to apply the principles of passive solar is having the main axis of your roof running from east to west. The sun’s path is lower in the sky in winter and higher in summer, resulting in more direct sun on the sides of your house in winter and your roof taking the brunt of the sun in summer. Trees and walls can also be used to increase the efficiency of your home’s orientation. Tall trees to the east of your home will offer shade in summer and won’t block the sun’s rays in winter.

The internal room plan would then also be based on site orientation. With our hot summers in mind, plan your living rooms like bedrooms, kitchen and lounge away from the sun. The rooms which receive the most direct summer sun can be used for laundry rooms or garages. We specialise in green design and sustainable principles and we make site orientation a major priority. Doing it right from the start will give you an energy efficient home in the future. We look at all aspects of

·      Seasonal and day/night temperature ranges

·      Humidity ranges

·      Wind patterns, including hot, cold and wet winds

·      Seasonal recurrences

·      Impact of the local natural environment and features on climate

·      Impact of adjacent buildings and existing landscape

Together we can design a home which reflects your personal style and is in perfect harmony with your site. A house that offers comfort regardless of the season by making use of its natural environment.

  1. Natural and Artificial Light

The most sustainable lighting is natural daylight. not only is it a free renewable resource but also offers great health benefits. We know how hot our summers can be so throughout our design process we look at how to maximise natural light in the building while maintaining indoor temperatures and reducing direct glare.

There will always be days when we can’t solely rely on natural light and we have to flip the switch. Standard light bulbs also known as incandescent bulbs are highly inefficient. Only about 10% of electricity is converted to light, the rest is wasted as heat. Rather opt for Halogen or LED bulbs. As Halogen bulbs burn brighter, they use less electricity and last twice as long as the standard bulb. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are extremely energy efficient and last much longer than standard light bulbs. These do cost more initially but pay for themselves in energy savings over time 

  1. Responsive design

Great design never happens by accident. It always starts by taking note of the context and responding to the client’s vision. Really tuning into the site and working with it. Great design takes advantage of features like slopes, trees, ponds and views to create spaces that are distinctive and full of character. This lends a local identity and connection to the space, creating harmonious havens that people love living in.

Responsive design also explores local patterns. These patterns are known as ‘urban grain’ and cover roads, building types, building lines, open spaces and sub-divisions. There may be a local design style that you would like to reflect or reinvent, a considered contrast in harmony with the local identity. Respecting elements of local character such as the height of surrounding buildings by staying in the overall scale.


Planning your new home - Why not make it passive?

Canterwood Partnership, an established bespoke custom building contractor focusing on architect driven residential projects in South East England creates unique signature homes for discerning clients. Our expertise and passion lies in bio-builds, architecture from the inside out. Bringing you and your family close to nature in total luxury and style.

As a process and technology driven builder, we operate at the forefront of sustainable construction and continue to advance the options for eco home owners to create signature homes in harmony with their environment.


Call us today to discuss your plans for a passive home...      

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