A Trombe (TROM-bee) wall is a passive solar device consisting of a thick sun-facing masonry wall (thermal mass) to absorb the sun's energy, combined with an air space and insulated glass. It was developed in the 1950s by Felix Trombe.

While the sun is shining, optical energy travels through and is trapped beneath the glass and absorbed by the masonry wall. The energy stored in the wall is then released slowly to the interior of the building when the sun is no longer shining. Using the sun's stored energy to heat your home reduces your conventional energy consumption.

During the summertime when heating energy isn't needed, the sun is higher in the sky and usually a Trombe wall has an overhang on it. The sun hits that overhang and bounces back rather than being collected and dispersed by the masonry wall.

In this video: A homeowner with a trombe wall discusses how it works and helps improve the comfort of her home.

More from this category

Aging in place

Adjustable height kitchen sink

Using universal design principals, your home can adapt to your changing lifestyle needs.

learn more

Roof and attic

Trusses in an attic

Your roof and attic play the most crucial role in your home's energy efficiency system, reducing your energy costs during the winter and summer.

learn more

New home comfort issues

Graphic of heating and cooling circulating through a house

Our four-part series explores how to handle comfort issues in a new home.

learn more

Geodesic domes

Geodesic dome home

A geodesic design uses interconnected triangles to create a strong, environmentally friendly structure.

learn more

Finding an energy-smart builder

New home under construction

An energy-smart builder will help you make the right choices for your family and lifestyle.

learn more

Energy efficient kitchen remodel

Pete and couple standing in remodeled kitchen

This kitchen remodel features a new window, energy-efficient lighting, new appliances and side-wall insulation.

learn more

Net Zero Community

Two people walking into a new home

Check out a new neighborhood concept and see how one builder is changing the way homes are built with a goal to use zero energy.

LEARN MORE

Choosing energy-smart products

Mom and daughters playing in leaves

When building your new home, don't forget about the importance of energy-conserving products like furnaces, air conditioners and appliances.

learn more

Structural insulated panels

Cross section of a structural insulated panel

Structural insulated panels, also called SIPs, foam-core panels or stress-skin panels, are significantly more airtight than stud walls.

learn more