Passive & ZNE: Intersecting Approaches to Sustainable Housing

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A recent article on discusses some of the pros and cons of passive solar and zero net energy housing. Author Lloyd Alter argues that it comes down to two distinct philosophies: simple vs. complicated. Essentially, a passive solar home is designed with special attention to orientation, insulation and high-quality glazing. In contrast, ZNE homes aim to generate enough power on site to heat, cool and light the entire house.

Alter says, “I have never been a fan of ‘Green Gizmo’ design, where everything gets so complicated and expensive. But there are also issues with Passive Houses, and questions about whether so much insulation is serious overkill.”

But perhaps the answer lies in a hybrid of the two approaches. At Studio G, we often seek out and implement ‘design compromises’ – blending traditional and innovative building techniques and technologies to create the ideal project for a specific client, program and/or site. And housing is no exception. Why not build a passive home and integrate a PV array onto the roof? We believe the opportunities are endless and will continue to evolve, and we look forward to the challenge!

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