Build a Model Home

Build a Model Home Photo Credit: By Department of Energy Solar Decathlon (CC BY-ND 2.0) via flickr.


Now that you and your partner have chosen a passive solar home design, you get a chance to build a model. Use this sheet to help you build your model.

Build Your Model




  • Cardboard
  • Wooden blocks
  • Polystyrene
  • Foam
  • Foam boards
  • Utility Knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Rulers
  • Glue and/or cool melt hot glue gun
  • Miniature carpenter’s square (or similar)
  • Other (as discussed with your teacher) __________________________________________


Your model should include all of the same rooms as your home design:

  1. Kitchen/Dining room
  2. Bathroom
  3. Bedroom
  4. Living room
  5. One additional of their choice.

Build your model to match the floor plan you designed. Cut openings for doors and windows. Label each room. Include the elements that are important to the passive solar nature of the house like the solar mass and windows. Think about how the house would sit on the building site that you selected earlier. Include the topography and other aspects of the geographic location in your model. Is there a driveway or walkway from the street? Is the front door facing that street? Etc.

Your home should be designed to take advantage of passive solar energy. You will need to present your model to the class, and explain how each of the following is used as part of the passive solar design:

  1. Construction materials: What types of materials would be most effective to aid in heating and cooling?
  2. Orientation of the house: How is the house situated on the geographic location? Be sure to have lots of south facing windows.
  3. Thermal Mass: What features inside the house will absorb and release heat energy?
  4. Landscaping (trees, etc.): How can plants be used to shade the house when it’s warm, and allow sunlight in when it’s cold?
  5. Geography: How does the house sit on the original home site selected from Google Maps or Google Earth?


Compare your model with those of the other groups. How did your group’s model of a passive solar home compare to the other models?



What worked well in your design? What worked well in the other groups’ designs?



What would you change if you had the time and ability to do so?




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