Passive Cooling

conventional ranch home stifles passive cooling

Wide homes with flat ceilings, inner partitioned walls, and windows at the same height inhibit cross ventilation. These homes have little natural convection and no stack effect, making them hot and stuffy in the heat of the summer. Heat trying to escape the home through the open windows prevents cool breezes from entering.

Passively cooled home designPassively cooled homes have height differences in exterior walls, low and high operable windows, and open floor plans giving a stack effect which promotes convection and natural airflow or “Convective Cooling”.  This gives the occupant  a cooling sensation and brings in fresh air.

passive cooling image example

What is Passive Cooling Design?

Passive cooling strategies can help eliminate the need to run energy-consumptive air conditioners and fans. Cross-ventilation in a passive solar home is very important. Height differences of walls across the room promote cooling and air convection. By having awning windows low to the floor on a cool side of the building  and high awning windows on the highest walls on  a warmer side, air flow and convective cycles occur. Air pressure differences due to hot and cold variations inside building and outside the home create a pressure difference across the building. This pressure difference sets up a “Venturi effect” or cross breeze. The air movement encourages evaporation of moisture on our skin and gives the sense of cooling.  Passive cooling is free air conditioning! Rather than spend a bunch of money on air conditioning, we recommend investing the money on operable windows and a home designer with experience in convective design. You will save you money in energy costs during the hot Summer months.

To learn more about passive cooling, please read our article, “Passive Cooling Design: free home air conditioning!