Heat your home with passive Solar Energy

It is quite possible to benefit from solar energy without the need for external mechanical means such as solar panels. It is closely related to architecture and was well understood in the ancient world. The Chinese, Greeks, Romans and North Africans have been building houses that use solar energy for more than 2,000 years.
All buildings are affected by solar energy in some way and it is a matter of design and planning to ensure it is used well and effectively. It requires four basic elements:

  1. A means of collecting heat
  2. A means of storing heat
  3. A means of distributing heat
  4. A means of keeping the heat in the house.


In 1982, near the ski resort “Dombay” in the Caucasus, Our Managing Director Murat Khatukaev built and tested the first Russian pilot house with a passive system of solar heating in estimated winter temperature of minus 22 0 C.

Solar houses in Karachay –Cherkessian region.

Solar heating systems is fundamentally divided into two types:

  1.  Active systems. They retain the traditional heating system with boiler and radiators, but partial water heating for the boiler is executed by solar water heaters. As the battery is used a tank with water in about half of the building`s volume to be heated. This kind of solar home is 1.6 times more expensive than a traditional one.
  2.  Passive systems. Considering that the cost of heating during the building`s lifetime is high enough, the design of the building shall be based on the ability of the structural elements of the building and its architecture as possible to keep the sun’s energy and reduce heat loss. New solar architecture is based: on the geometry of the sun motion across the sky throughout the year, the southern wall`s storage capacity, favorable planning decisions in terms of reducing heat loss, taking into account the use of modern insulating materials. Capital expenditure is increased by 10-15%.

Operating costs are minimized.

Building houses with passive solar heat accumulation is virtually unlimited by climatic conditions of operation.

The only question is a share of solar energy use. In the design the traditional heating system as a backup is not considered, and the most used is the environment energy (wind energy, water energy, etc.). Use of the effective electric backup is more economical than traditional heating system.

Of course the way to create energy efficient autonomous house is only through the use of passive solar heating systems.

Teberda Solar house.солнечная столовая в тебердинском заповеднике

The object is located at an altitude of 1348 m above sea level, the estimated winter outdoor temperature is minus 20 degrees, the average wind speed – 6.8 m / s. The average daily air temperature fluctuations is up to 30 degrees.

Teberda Solar house – Russia’s first energy efficient house with passive solar heating system. Built in 1982 near the “Dombay” ski resort.


House dimensions 12 x 6 m. Four rooms, a corridor and a bathroom. The walls are made of wooden boards. The southern wall is a solar collector of 4 authoring structural modifications and is a supporting wall of 30 cm thickness in reinforced concrete shell with protective glazing. Solar collector works as a heat accumulator. As the heat-accumulating material various materials were used, including materials with latent heat in phase transformations. The house was designed and built according to the principles of solar geometry.

Traditional (backup) heating system is absent. Solar collector operation guarantee corresponds to the concrete operation period. The project has been developed to the stage of industrial production, which allowed to build a house in few days. Previously production of concrete products plant workshop was refurbished for the start of mass production.

Sunny house has been tested in cold continental climate conditions for 7 years from 1982 to 1989.

Traditionally, passive solar houses in the world are built in the tropical or subtropical climatic conditions where winter calculated temperatures above zero degrees Celsius. Typically, the outer walls of the solar house made ​​of bulk material in order to smooth external temperature fluctuations.

In such cold climatic conditions as in Teberda, passive solar houses nowhere in the world have been tested. In addition, as described above, the three exterior walls are made of light wood boards that complicated experimental conditions. We also managed to reduce the area of ​​the solar collector by 1.8 times, as compared to known at the time the construction of the Michel Trombe`s solar house in Odeillo (France). This will limit the dimensions of the southern wall in height and width, which offers the prospect of a multi-storey solar housebuilding. In the French house the collector apart from the southern part of the wall also included basements and attic of the house.

Tests have shown high efficiency of solar house. Collector- wall works on the principle of air conditioning and maintain temperatures from 16 to 28 degrees Celsius, regardless of the time of year and weather conditions. During strong winds in February frosts the air temperature inside the building fell to + 14-16 degrees Celsius. The original record solar house set in January 1987. Commission the Agricultural Committee of the CPSU in the presence of the author’s agreement completely cut off electricity and sealed the house. The next day snowfall started and lasted 16 days. Snow fell 4.5 meters thick. In the presence of members of the commission the solar house was dug with a bulldozer after 17 days. Outside the solar collector iced, but the temperature in the rooms ranged from 14 to plus 17 degrees Celsius.


2 years later after the tests in one of the rooms there has been fixed side biological effect. Plants that were in the second room developed much faster and reached higher growth. Later research showed that the wavelength of the internal radiation of one of the collectors has a positive effect on biological objects, including the human.

Horizontally placed mirrored shutters in the daytime reflect the sun’s rays on to the collector, and at night automatically close and insulate the solar collector.

Lighting of the main premises is carried out through the hyperbolic mirrors in the attic of the building. Skylights (windows) are in the attic floor.

The share of solar energy in heating and cooling the building during the test period was 92%. Automatic control of shutters was done by solar electric photocell. Hot water was provided by a traditional solar water heaters.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR on Teberda solar house basis there was designed energy autonomous house. Two types of author`s wind energy designs passed the test. They were designed specifically for the mountain gorges dominating wind speeds 6 – 8 m / s. Also mini hydroelectric power station of Kharkov Turbine Plant was tested. In 1991, there was prepared a contract with the Ministry of Defence of the USSR for the production of 40 energy-autonomous buildings for the space objects observations and a building of mountain scientific laboratory, but well-known events in the Soviet Union in the same year did not allow to realize these projects.

  Solar dining room for 140 seats in Arhyz.пассивные солнечные дома, Teberda Reserve.

In 1987 by order of Karachay-Cherkessia Regional Council for Tourism and Excursions there was carried out a project of tourist base for 360 seats using solar energy for heating and hot water.

Among other things in the project there was a system for biological wastewater treatment according to the space technology, since the base was built in environmentally friendly conditions of Teberda mountain Reserve. In September 1987, 140-seat dining room was built of this project.

The dining room is heated by the same technology that a Teberda solar house, but with using new accumulating substances. Considering the large snow load in the winter in the mountainous areas, the roof of dining room made with solar heating, which does not accumulate snow on the roof. When the outdoor temperature minus 6-16 degrees the temperature in the attic at night rose to plus 16 to 30 degrees. Mirror shutters and paraboloidal mirror are missing.

Unfortunately, the construction of other objects have been suspended because of the events in the country and in republic at that time.

The author also designed houses with passive solar cooling systems for the tropical zones and, as mentioned above, has developed a number of new wind power generators and wind power turbines of rotor and chain types.


These experimental and research work was carried out at his own expense and were suspended because of their futility in modern Russia.

However, the recent accidents at large power stations suggest, that megalomania has not resulted and will not lead to success. The apparent low cost of electricity of large power plants, in practice no more than a myth. Cascade step-down transformers, big chains leading to huge losses of electricity. A failure of large generating stations paralyze production and the economy of the country. China used the other way.

They refused to build two largest power plants, and instead of it during 10 years of Chinese adjustment they built 91,000 small power plants. It is obvious that such a system is more reliable.

The strategy of the maximum use environmental energy can release up to 60% of energy used in municipal service facilities for the development of the production sector.

Western countries facing energy shortages also took this way.


Murat Khatukaev

Member of the Board of MCIT

Managing Director

Eco Fortis Ltd

(United Kingdom)

  • Save on Energy Bills 100%
  • Collect Heat 95%
  • Store Heat 95%
  • Distribute Heat 90%
  • Avoid overheating 100%

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Read about Murat Khatukaevs Solar Passive House

Article from magazine” Technique Youth” 1993, about solar passive house that was built by our Managing Director Murat Khatukaev in 1982