I have been watching with interest on these fine frosty Canterbury days the amount of sunshine streaming into the north facing areas of the Parklands House. This is a stark difference to our current rental property where the sun pours into our ensuite and the dressing wall where there are no windows. I tell all my clients that the sun is free, not only heating our houses but improving our mental wellbeing immeasurably just by being able to access it. To me it is a no brainer to orientate a house to the sun. There are no excuses either. Layouts can be changed to make the best use of the sun irrelevant of the orientation of the site. The sun just needs to be the top priority. The key elements to Passive Solar design, orientate your spaces to the north where possible, have more glazing east and north, limit your west glazing a bit to limit overheating. If possible include some thermal mass – think of a concrete slab or brick wall in the late afternoon radiating heat back out. It also stores heat to create a cooling effect as well. In the Parklands House we don’t have any thermal mass which will be interesting when we come to the final wash up of meeting our net zero energy goal. We chose not to do this because of the ground conditions and the risk of flooding.