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
Decoding building requirements
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.
Choosing energy-smart products
When building your new home, don't forget about the importance of energy-conserving products like furnaces, air conditioners and appliances.
Roof and 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.
Structural insulated panels
Structural insulated panels, also called SIPs, foam-core panels or stress-skin panels, are significantly more airtight than stud walls.
Building an energy-smart house
Energy rater and performance consultant
An energy rater can help make your new home more energy-efficient through every stage of the construction process.
Turning a barn into an energy-smart home
Insulated concrete forms
An insulated concrete form (ICF) system eliminates the cold drafts typical of wood-frame construction.