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Introduction to Passive Building Design

Use these passive techniques to reduce your home's carbon footprint

It is very possible to build sustainable, comfortable, and functional buildings, even homes, using earth materials. Ecological building concepts are similar to those that exist, but require a different approach in the planning process.

Sustainable design takes the “whole system approach”- that is, sustainable design views building facets as interconnected. All basic building concepts are dependent on one another and affect the entire building. One must begin with the basics in order to have a successful design.

Also - if you are not starting a new project, there is much that you can do to reduce how much energy your existing home needs to consume in order to keep you comfortable.


Good Shoes, Good Hat - Drastic amounts of energy can be saved when your home follows good basic building concepts.

Solar Heating and Cooling - Heat and cool your home without the need for an internal air conditioning or heating system.

Solar Path - If you understand solar path, you can use the sun to your ecological advantage.

Ecological Roofs - Keep the blazing heat from the sun out of your home.

Ecological Windows - Look at windows as tools first and as providing aesthetic value second.

Dark Sky Lighting - There is such a thing as 'light pollution.' Find out what it is and how you can help.

Ceiling Fans - Fractionalizing your cooling costs is easy.


  • Video: Ecological Design, Inventing the Future - produced by Brian Danitz & Chris Zelov

Thank you to Alex Cicelsky for authoring these chapters. Alex is an educator and expert in desert architecture for Kibbutz Lotan's Center for Creative Ecology.


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