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.

More from this category

Talk to your utilities

Utility worker with an electric meter

Before you break ground on a new house, give your utility companies a call. They can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and construction delays.

learn more

Framing options

Man installing steel framing

You have energy efficient and sustainable options when it comes to framing your new home.

learn more

Habitat for Humanity

Volunteers joining hands

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that provides simple, sturdy homes. Learn how energy efficiency is a key factor in building these homes.

learn more

Insulated concrete forms

Insulated concrete forms in the ground

An insulated concrete form (ICF) system eliminates the cold drafts typical of wood-frame construction.

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

Building an energy-smart house

Pete and Megan talking with homeowners

Hear from real homeowners and builders who made energy efficiency a priority.

learn more

 

Decoding building requirements

house blueprints

Learn about some of the changes for new homes built today. An expert highlights some of the things to consider when building a new home.

learn more

Modular homes

Modular home assembly in a factory

Modular homes are built in a factory under controlled conditions, then shipped to the homesite and placed on a permanent foundation.

learn more