Comparing indoor and outdoor temperatures for a passive solar home in Melbourne during Summer

Passive solar house performance

Having our air conditioner out of service at the start of Summer was an opportunity to demonstrate how a passive solar home in Melbourne doesn't rely on mechanical cooling to keep the occupants comfortable.

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Living area remains light filled even on cloudy days in June

June comfort and cost report

Cold, cloudy days in June were a good test of the energy cost for active heating to remain comfortable indoors. The total energy bill to live comfortably in our high-efficiency, all-electric home was a reasonable $2.50 per day.

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Passive heating example from May data

May comfort and cost report

During May, the colder, cloudier days meant the house changed from passive to active heating mode. The air conditioner was handy to keep the indoor temperature within the target comfort range. Less solar power production and higher electricity consumption left us with a $43 energy bill.

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Late April sunshine warming the concrete slab in the main bedroom

April comfort and cost report

April marks the end of a long run of days of excess solar power exports and passive cooling. Shorter, cloudier days reduce power production. Colder temperatures mean the house has moved to passive heating, with just a touch of active heating using the air conditioner. It's still comfortable indoors but the monthly energy cost is expected to rise from here.

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Deciduous grape vine gradually covering the pergola on the north wall

March comfort and cost report

March is a tricky month for a passive solar home. With the Sun lower in the sky, the increasing amount of sunlight hitting the concrete slab is moving the house into passive heating mode. However, the occasional flashback into Summer means the heating isn't required. Covering the pergola with a deciduous vine should eliminate the issue in future.

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Sunshine hitting the slab near the north facing door at midday in late February

February comfort and cost report

Passive cooling with nighttime natural air circulation was all that was required to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Solar power production remains high with exports ensuring our energy bill was a slight credit.

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Compare indoor and outdoor temperatures during the January hot spell

January comfort and cost report

Our passive solar design home performed well for comfort and cost during a record run of hot weather in Melbourne. Natural air circulation during the cooler nights eliminated the need for air conditioning during the day. Solar power production far exceeded our needs, resulting in a slight credit on the power bill.

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Living area image by Dylan James showing the clerestory window above the sliding door

December comfort and cost report

Despite increasing temperatures, passive cooling was all that was required to keep indoor temperatures within a comfortable range. The energy bill for December was a credit of $8 due to continuing low household demand and increased solar power production.

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Outdoor temperatures quickly changing from cold to hot in November didn't significantly affect indoors

November cost and comfort report

Despite Melbourne's temperatures swinging from Summer to Winter and back again, the house maintained a comfortable indoor temperature with minimal use of mechanical heating.

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October comfort and cost report

Longer, warmer days reduced the need for any form of heating to keep indoors at a comfortable temperature. The extra sunshine increased solar power production so we had more than enough electricity for household demand and charging EVs.

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