Ancient Passive Solar Stone House in Croatia
This gorgeous old stone house overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Croatia is the perfect example of great use of passive solar and thermal mass.
One of the earliest ways that we learned how to moderate temperatures in houses was to build with stone. Using materials with high thermal mass like wood, masonry and stone can make a big difference in reducing the energy needed to make a house comfortable.
More recently, we added another passive solar technique to warm houses: using much bigger windows facing South.
Bringing in lots of sun, widening window openings facing the sun gets the maximum heat soaked into the flooring that can be released from it at night.
In hot climates that have cold nighttime temperatures, the hot daytime sun is absorbed into the material during the day, reducing interior heat, and then released into the house at night, providing warmth through the chilly evenings.
(Obviously, for climates that are hot and or humid and retain high temperatures at night, making use of thermal mass to store and release heat is not a good technique.)
Notice just how thick these walls are. These would block heat transfer on hot days, as well as it would hold in warmth inside on cold ones. This level of passive heating and cooling would qualify this house for PassivHaus certification.
The bathroom has been sensitively modernized with clearcut angles to contrast with the ancient walls.
The house is set in a village on a hillside looking out towards Italy across the Adriatic Sea, yet it is a region that is not fully European.
Once a key trading port of the Ottoman Empire, the region holds that mysterious quality of in between. But somebody, in some century past, built this marvelous example of energy-efficient building that has been so beautifully modernized.