Chelsea Green Publishing

Passive Solar Architecture

Pages:304 pages
Book Art:Full-color photos and illustrations throughout
Size: 10 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603582964
Pub. Date August 18, 2011

Passive Solar Architecture

Heating, Cooling, Ventilation, Daylighting and More Using Natural Flows

Building & Energy

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 18, 2011


New buildings can be designed to be solar oriented, naturally heated and cooled, naturally lit and ventilated, and made with renewable, sustainable materials—no matter the location or climate.

In this comprehensive overview of passive solar design, two of America’s solar pioneers give homeowners, architects, designers, and builders the keys to successfully harnessing the sun and maximizing climate resources for heating, cooling, ventilation, and daylighting.

Bainbridge and Haggard draw upon examples from their own experiences, as well as those of others, of more than three decades to offer both overarching principles as well as the details and formulas needed to successfully design a more comfortable, healthy, and secure place in which to live, laugh, dance, and be comfortable. Even if the power goes off.

Passive Solar Architecture also discusses “greener” and more-sustainable building materials and how to use them, and explores the historical roots of green design that have made possible buildings that produce more energy and other resources than they use.


This book is a major work. It uniquely emphasizes the interplay between passive solar building and the other elements of sustainable design, and relates real-world examples of building design to broader issues of sustainability. Passive Solar Architecture is a welcome addition to any bookshelf on green architecture and sustainability.--Margot McDonald, professor of architecture, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and past-president, American Solar Energy Society

"If you read just one book on sustainable building, choose Passive Solar Architecture. In this single-volume handbook, authors David A. Bainbridge and Ken Haggard use warmth and wit to give readers a thorough understanding of passive heating and cooling. In an overheated world, where buildings gobble up the biggest share of energy, this book should be required reading for contractors, architects, homeowners and anyone who cares about housing."--Nicolette Toussaint, architectural designer, and founder,

"This splendid book is essential reading for anyone planning to build a sustainable, energy-efficient solar home. No one knows this important topic better than veteran solar architects David Bainbridge and Ken Haggard."--Cheryl Long, Editor in Chief, Mother Earth News

"Passive Solar Architecture is a comprehensive technical guide to building comfortable, vibrant, efficient homes and commercial buildings. Whether you are in the market for technical tips to maximize a microclimate or a systems-thinking approach to building design, this book is an ideal read for architects, building engineers, homebuilders and green building enthusiasts alike."--Jen Boynton, Editor in Chief,

"The design and construction profession has needed Passive Solar Architecture for a long time. David Bainbridge and Ken Haggard share their knowledge, gleaned from more than three decades, of cutting-edge work with low-energy, passive-solar, and natural building practices. This is a must-have resource for designers wanting to incorporate passive features in their buildings."--Alex Wilson, Founder, BuildingGreen, Inc., Executive Editor, Environmental Building News

"This book is a treasure! Drawn from the coauthors' and contributors' decades of successful experience, Passive Solar Architecture is both inspiringly broad in scope and delightfully detailed. City and neighborhood planning is intermixed with many small gems-such as a metal water wall detail to capture winter sun-and examples in climates from around the world. This is a welcome and unique resource for my university seminars in passive heating and cooling."--John S. Reynolds, FAIA, Professor of Architecture Emeritus, University of Oregon, and Honorary Past Chair, American Solar Energy Society

"Passive solar home design has significant benefits over traditional home design—especially in disaster situations. In the face of an alarming increase in intensity and frequency of natural disasters, this richly illustrated and accessible book should be a must-read for all homebuilders and community planners."--Yasmeen Hossain, former Senior Solar Analyst with the Solar Electric Power Association


  • Winner - Bookbuilder's Award (Best in Category for Professional, Illustrated Books)


David Bainbridge

David A. Bainbridge first worked on community design, passive solar heating and cooling, building codes, and solar rights at the innovative design firm Living Systems. He described his first water-wall solar home and the Village Homes solar subdivision in Solar House Designs in 1978. Founder of the Passive Solar Institute, and recipient of the ASES Passive Pioneer Award in 2004, Bainbridge consults on a wide range of residential and commercial projects and has completed several solar projects on his own homes, as well as co-authoring The Straw Bale House (with Athena Swentzell Steen and Bill Steen), and Passive Solar Architecture (with Ken Haggard). He is currently Associate Professor of Sustainable Management at the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management. He lives in San Diego, California.

Ken Haggard

Ken Haggard, formerly an architecture professor at California Polytechnic, is an architect and principal in the San Luis Sustainability Group. Since the late sixties, Haggard has designed more than 200 solar buildings, from homes to large commercial and institutional buildings—as well as the first permitted straw bale building in California. An active member of the American and International Solar Energy Societies, he received the Passive Pioneer Award from ASES in 1999 and was made a fellow of ASES in 2000. His office and home—in Santa Margarita, California—are passive solar, off grid, and straw bale.


The Straw Bale House

The Straw Bale House

By Athena Swentzell Steen and Bill Steen and David Bainbridge

Imagine building a house with superior seismic stability, fire resistance, and thermal insulation, using an annually renewable resource, for half the cost of a comparable conventional home. Welcome to the straw bale house! Whether you build an entire house or something more modest-a home office or studio, a retreat cabin or guest cottage-plastered straw bale construction is an exceptionally durable and inexpensive option. What's more, it's fun, because the technique is easy to learn and easy to do yourself. And the resulting living spaces are unusually quiet and comfortable.The Straw Bale Housedescribes the many benefits of building with straw bales:

  • super insulation, with R-values as high as R-50
  • good indoor air quality and noise reduction
  • a speedy construction process
  • construction costs as low as $10-per-square-foot
  • use of natural and abundant renewable resources
  • a better solution than burning agricultural waste straw, which creates tons of air pollutants

Available in: Paperback

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The Straw Bale House

Athena Swentzell Steen, Bill Steen, David Bainbridge

Paperback $34.95


The New Ecological Home

The New Ecological Home

By Daniel D. Chiras

Shelter, like many other elements of human existence, comes at an extraordinary cost to our planet and its inhabitants. In the U.S. alone, construction of 1.2 million new homes a year results in a massive drain on Earth's natural resource base. Today, nearly 60 percent of all timber cut in the U.S. is used in building houses, not to mention construction wastes and the huge amounts of resources used in the day-to-day operation of the "modern" household. In addition to environmental costs, there are the personal economic costs—the thousands of dollars each homeowner spends each year to heat, cool, and power our homes.

Today, a new generation of architects and builders is emerging, intent on creating homes that meet human needs for shelter while causing only a fraction of the environmental impact of conventional housing. The New Ecological Home provides an overview of green building techniques, materials, products, and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Daniel Chiras provides a wealth of up-to-date, practical information for home buyers, owner-builders, and anyone interested in building for a sustainable future. Included are chapters on:

  • The Healthy House
  • Green Building Materials
  • Wood-Wise Construction
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Earth-Sheltered Architecture
  • Passive Solar Heating and Passive Cooling
  • Green Power: Electricity from the Sun and Wind
  • Water and Waste: Sustainable Approaches
  • Environmental Landscaping

Available in: eBook

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The New Ecological Home

Daniel D. Chiras

eBook $35.00

The Hand-Sculpted House

The Hand-Sculpted House

By Ianto Evans and Michael G. Smith and Linda Smiley

Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as "an ecstatic house."

The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable--earth, clay, sand, straw, and water--and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning "lump") is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand.

Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder's imagination.
Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what's missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world.

Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

Available in: Paperback

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The Hand-Sculpted House

Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, Linda Smiley, Deanne Bednar

Paperback $35.00

Independent Builder

Independent Builder

By Sam Clark

This is a comprehensive manual of design and building methods for owner-builders as well as professional builders and their clients. In addition to presenting specific building techniques, the book explains the design principles and planning processes that underlie all good building, so that readers can develop their own exceptional designs, independently.

Independent Builder develops subjects not covered thoroughly in other books, but critical to success:

  • Designing small houses that seem big
  • Understanding innovation
  • Estimating and controlling costs
  • Incorporating ergonomics and accessibility
  • Doing drawings and scale models
  • Making contracts that work

Available in: Paperback

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Independent Builder

Sam Clark

Paperback $40.00

Roundwood Timber Framing

Roundwood Timber Framing

By Ben Law

This definitive manual marks the birth of a new vernacular for the 21st century. Over 400 color photographs and step-by-step instructions guide you through the building of anything from a garden shed to your own woodland house. This practical how to book will unquestionably be a benchmark for sustainable building using renewable local resources and evolving traditional skills to create durable, ecological, and beautiful buildings.

Available in: Hardcover

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Roundwood Timber Framing

Ben Law, Lloyd Kahn

Hardcover $39.95