Solar home

Wellington architect Richard Wright's Wadestown home has been designed for 'natural conditioning' which is the combination of solar heating and natural ventilation.

Location:  Wadestown, Wellington

Key features:

  • orientation
  • thermal mass
  • passive and solar heating
  • natural ventilation
  • automatic temperature control

To receive the most sunlight the house is only one-room deep and living areas face north and west.

Internal air heated by the low-angle winter sun is ducted from the ceiling to a basement rock-bin filled with 15 tonnes of recycled concrete kerbing. The rock-bin stores sufficient heat to supply background warmth to the house for a week of sunless days.

Surplus summer heat is moved by natural convection through thermostatically controlled louvres.

Exposed thermal mass floor slabs absorb and release heat in the sunroom and gallery. Solar-heated water flowing through an internal balustrade is a feature that eventually could be enhanced to replace gas water heating.

These features were custom-built into the Wrights' home, but the same principles using simpler equipment can be incorporated into existing homes. A natural conditioning system could be installed for the price of a quality home appliance. For a large house, energy savings could be up to $1,000 per year.

To find out more about solar and sustainable building design, go to:

Solar Home - Aonui Architecture