Passive House Basics - the passive house design is predicated on having an airtight, super-insulated building envelope. Then you add big windows facing south to allow the sun to warm a large interior wall (or thermal mass they call it). The wall will hold heat for winter time comfort. For summer time you add a screening / shading system for those windows, preferably outside with an open air space between window and shade.
The New York Times has a great graphic explanation of the principles of the Passive House, "airtight buildings that use heat from appliances and even the occupants' bodies for warmth." The Times notes that while they are popular in
Brooklyn Brownstone Passive House Fabrica 718 designed this Passive House-certified remodel of a late 19th-century brownstone in Brooklyn. The degraded brownstone face veneer was replaced with an EIFS system, and original wood molding details were replicated in fiberglass. Photo: Hai Zhang