Passive Design Strategies – Today, due to technological advancements in the industry, we are constantly moving towards inculcating Active technologies in a building. Active technologies are those that take energy from the electricity grid, while on the other hand, passive technologies are the ones that focus on the natural ways of generating energy as required in any building. But the question arises that- Are these technologies sustainable? Does it build a healthy environment? There will be no denying the fact that passive technologies are much better for the users, as it helps in providing a natural environment all around the built environment. 

So what is Passive Technology in a building or an architectural project? Passive, as we all know means when there is a direct relation between the users and the mode through which we are getting any comfort available to us. For example, the courtyard and a ceiling fan in a building is the best contradicting example defining what exactly passive technology means. A ceiling fan is an example of active technology that uses the electricity from the grid which channels it into mechanical energy. The courtyard, on the other hand, is an example of passive technology that serves the purpose of ventilation and cooling. The major difference is that ceiling fans, coolers, or air conditioners work by taking up energy from an external source and converting it into mechanical energy. But in the end, the purpose is the same, to provide ventilation and cooling, which even an open courtyard can provide.

Several passive technologies can be infused into our design projects which can also help to make our projects sustainable. But how exactly can we add these passive technologies in our projects? What should be considered by us? The study of a place and its climate is an important step before jumping into using appropriate active technologies by using passive design strategies. For instance, we cannot just place a courtyard in houses located in Kashmir or Uttarakhand, where there already is a need for warmth; thus by providing a courtyard, the problem with the weather will only increase. Here are a few techniques to help you out according to regions: 

1. Courtyard | Passive design strategies

This passive technology is one of the most common and traditional methods. Courtyards have been used in buildings situated in hot climate areas where more ventilation is required in the building or a defined area. The courtyards are one of the simplest ways of achieving active ventilation in a building. This method is natura, as well as an effective means of achieving ventilation in any built structure. Courtyards have been used as a building element for a long way back and are followed to the date. Along with the courtyards, several other methods can also be infused into our designs. Some of its examples are – louvres, fins, blinds, the orientation of the site or building, shading through trees, and so on.


How can you incorporate passive design stratgies in your architecture projects? - Sheet1
Courtyard in a building helping in ventilation_©
How can you incorporate passive design stratgies in your architecture projects? - Sheet2
Courtyard in a building helping in ventilation_©

2. Trombe Wall

Tromble walls often serve as load-bearing as well as being an efficient heat insulating wall. The mechanism of this wall is based on conduction. The wall catches heat during the daytime and releases it during the night to maintain a warm and comfortable environment all along. To maximise solar gain, the glazed side of the wall typically faces toward the Equator, which allows the wall to collect more sun during the day in winters. The Tromble walls are generally found in areas with a cold climate like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, or Kashmir.


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Tromble wall in a building_©
How can you incorporate passive design stratgies in your architecture projects? - Sheet4
Tromble wall in a building_©

3. Solar Chimney | Passive design strategies

Working with the same principle as a fire chimney, a solar chimney helps to keep an interior cool by providing a vent through which the hot air rises and then escapes the building. This creates a space for the cool air to settle down there. There are windows placed at the near bottom of the building which will then allow the cool air to come in and then ventilate the whole interior. 

How can you incorporate passive design stratgies in your architecture projects? - Sheet5
Working  of  a Solar chimney in a building_©

4. Green Roofing

A green roof is one of the most efficient and sustainable passive cooling technologies for a building. The green roof provides a canopy on the roof, which further maintains a conducive environment inside the building. 

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Green Roofing in a building_©
Green Roofing in a building_©

5. Wind Tower | Passive design strategies

Wind towers work according to a simple process of convention and are mostly seen in regions with a hot and dry climate. In those areas, wind towers play a very important role in providing ventilation in the buildings by catching a cool breeze prevailing at a higher level above the ground and then directing it into the interior of the buildings through long shafts. Other features which also help in the working of the wind tower are radial internal walls, which divide the wind tower into vertical sections that works like parallel chimneys.


Wind tower in a building_©
How can you incorporate passive design stratgies in your architecture projects? - Sheet7
Wind tower in a building_©

Thus, we can come up with the conclusion that with time we will be witnessing far more new and innovative passive technologies around us. These technologies not only will be efficient but also sustainable helping in maintaining a conducive living environment in and around any built structure. Taking into consideration the current climatic conditions, where global warming is gradually gaining pace, the buildings will gradually adapt to these sustainable and eco-friendly systems.


Sameeksha, currently pursuing her architecture degree, is also inclined towards writing and pouring out her thoughts. Being an writing enthusiast as well as an architecture student, she constantly tries to grab every opportunity for writing and express her views for the built environment.