Passive Strategies

UrbanEden’s heating, cooling, and ventilation strategy starts with basic passive solar design for mixed heating and cooling load climates, such as that of Charlotte, North Carolina.

We started by orienting the building toward the south and gave it a shape that is long and thin on its east/west axis. With this configuration, the winter sun, which is low in the southern sky, streams in through the long, fully-glazed southern building facade, where the solar energy is stored as heat in the building’s ample mass. This energy is radiated back to the space at night when the sun is down, essentially untethering the sun’s heating potential from its physical presence. This is passive solar heating.

On the other end of the spectrum, blocking the sun’s heat is the central mechanism of passive solar cooling. In late spring, summer, and early fall, the small surface area of UrbanEden’s east and west facades minimizes exposure to low, hot morning and afternoon sunshine, while the roof blocks much of the midday sun. This basic strategy is augmented with a movable PV array that slides over the southern patio as needed, allowing for 100% shading of both indoor and outdoor rooms when desired, therefore considerably lowering the ambient dry bulb temperature. In addition, ample natural ventilation through operable windows and doors further increases occupant comfort through evaporative cooling. Together, these strategies are the classic approach to passive solar cooling.