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R&D in Passive Solar Houses (PSH) – HIAL – Himalayan Institute of Alternative Ladakh

R&D in Passive Solar Houses

In Passive Solar Construction Technique, the spaces are heated using solar energy and without any heating mechanisms but through three ways of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. This building technique helps to keep the building warm even during the extreme winters of Ladakh. From all six sides, the building is insulated to ensure that heat does not escape outside. Local natural materials are tested, experimented with and then used in construction such as clay from Basgo village, soil from Taru village. The innovations in this technique have been phenomenal with buildings that stay at +15 degrees Celsius inside the house even when it is -15 degrees Celsius outside in winters.

At HIAL, we experiment with materials and various PSH techniques like an attached greenhouse, Trombe wall and direct gain. We have successfully experimented with the thermal mass wall heat storage capacity in the Trombe Wall system. Further research is currently underway using earthen construction techniques of rammed earth, straw clay and adobe wall systems to test the efficiency in PSH design.