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passive design, solar gain, green roof, South Africa, Daffonchio, Heritage House, Johannesburg, Magaliesburg, House Samios, indigenous plants, solar heating, solar geysers, underfloor heating

The building’s glass exterior ensures fantastic views of the surrounding Magaliesburg mountains, but it is also a potential sauna. To mitigate unwanted solar gain, two different types of louvers are used. Horizontal louvers block out the high mid-day summer sun while still allowing the lower-angled winter sun access, which passively heats the interior. Vertical sliding louvers track the sun during the day but can also be closed, thereby shutting out the sun at its hottest without sacrificing ventilation.

The green roof serves several functions: not only does it provide insulation and soak up stormwater, it also absorbs some of the heat given off by the glass. All of the water in the Samios home is heated with solar geysers, with additional interior warmth provided by water-based underfloor heating. Harvested rainwater irrigates the property, which is landscaped with hardy indigenous flora.

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