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

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

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

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

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

Framing options

Man installing steel framing

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

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

Air quality and ventilation in new homes

Man showing ductwork to Pete and Megan

New, energy-efficient homes need new solutions to circulate and ventilate the air inside the home.

learn more