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

Turning a barn into an energy-smart home

Megan standing in front of the barn home

A century-old barn gets the ultimate makeover - with lots of energy-smart technology.

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

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

Aging in place

Adjustable height kitchen sink

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

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

 

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

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

Energy rater and performance consultant

Energy rater performing analysis on a front door

An energy rater can help make your new home more energy-efficient through every stage of the construction process.

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