building design

Passive Cooling

There are a number of simple ways you can use passive design to keep your already constructed building cooler during the hot summer months, as well as some really cool building techniques that can be incorporated into construction to keep a building cool.  Today I’m going to cover the simple, already constructed building methods.


Passive heating is all about trapping the heat from the sun inside your building. Likewise, passive cooling is about keeping that heat out. In the posts about passive lighting and passive heating, I talked about how important southern facing windows are to letting light and heat into a building, but what do you do with those windows during the summer? Using an awning on your southern windows can be a great solution. The angle of the awning will keep out the harsher rays of the sun in the summer, and in the winter, when the sun is angled lower in the sky, the light and heat will still be able to come in under the awning.

Shade Trees

Planting a deciduous shade tree in your southern yard can help keep your home or building cool as well. In the summer months, the leafy tree will provide shade for your southern windows, and if the tree is tall enough, for the roof as well.  In the winter, the tree will drop its leaves and let the light and heat pass through.


Using thick curtains on southern and western facing window during the day can also keep keep a room or building cool by keeping the sun out, in the evening when the harshness of the rays have lessened, you can open the curtains again to let in the light.

Air Flow

Get that air moving. Open up windows on all sides of the building, and keep interior doors open as well to help allow the air to pass through the building.

Next week I’ll get into some of the ways that we can use construction to help get the air moving, and keep it cool in the first place.

Are you looking for an introduction to passive design? You can find it here.

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