Passive Solar House (PSH) [Afghanistan]

Garm Khana

technologies_1602 - Afghanistan

Completeness: 78%

1. Informação geral

1.2 Detalhes do contato das pessoas capacitadas e instituições envolvidas na avaliação e documentação da tecnologia.


SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
HELVETAS (Swiss Intercooperation)

1.3 Condições em relação ao uso da informação documentada através de WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaração de sustentabilidade da tecnologia descrita

A tecnologia descrita aqui é problemática em relação a degradação da terra de forma que não pode ser declarada uma tecnologia sustentável de gestão de terra?


2. Descrição da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

2.1 Descrição curta da tecnologia

Definição da tecnologia:

A clean energy technology for converting solar energy into heat for warming homes.

2.2 Descrição detalhada da tecnologia


Passive Solar House technology is documented by Sustainable Land Management Project/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation with financial support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Households in Bayman Centre experience very cold winters and meeting household energy needs for the Bamyan population is challenging. They mostly rely on unsustainable solutions such as burning manure or mountain shrubs. Shrub harvesting for firewood is a major cause of land degradation in the province. Fuel expenses also deplete the financial resources of an already impoverished population. Also, due to the intense cold, very few activities are possible during the winter. To overcome the challenges of heavy dependence on biomass for winter heating and to improve living conditions, many families in Bamyan Centre are adopting the passive solar technology for improving their living conditions, while reducing pressure on environment.
Passive solar technology captures sunlight in a room or building, and converts that energy into low-temperate heat. It provides an efficient mean of capturing the sun's energy, reducing the need for fuel wood and coal for heating.

(1)The passive solar house (PSH) technology has significant economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits. They are as follows:
(2)reducing the reliance on shrubs and other heating materials; saving expenditure on fuel (aprox.25,000 Afghani/year) and the time usually spent on harvesting bushes;
(3)provision of extra space in the house for washing/drying cloths, bathing, social activities, play and study area, space for vegetable crops for home consumption; savings due to this technology offset the high initial investment cost;
(4)improved health due to less exposure to cold;
(5)reduced pressure on environment. The technology contributes to re-greening of common lands or rangelands where fewer shrubs are collected (uprooted) for firewood.
PSH should have a Southern exposure to take maximum advantage of the sun for daylight and passive solar heating. Most of the houses in Bamyan have southern exposures. The PSH is generally used for 6 months (November to April).
Although the technology was introduced in Bamyan by GERES, an International Non-Governmental Organization, many families have replicated it without any external support.

The main purpose of Passive Solar House technology is to make use of the solar energy for heating homes. As a result, the need for shrubs and coal for home heating is reduced significantly. The technology contributes to re-greening of common lands or range lands on which shrubs are harvested (uprooted) for firewood. Barat Ali's family bought about 60 donkey loads of shrubs per year for winter heating purposes. They did not have to do that after this technology was implemented by the PSH owner. The technology also contributes to the well-being of all family members, especially of women, who can do their household chores, and children who often got sick due to cold exposure.

The PSH presented here was established in September 2013 before the onset of winter. A transparent plastic sheet, metal pipes, wires and ropes to hold the plastic are used for construction work. Metal pipes were purchased from Kabul by the owner.
The PSH measures 17 m in length, 5 m in width and about 4 m in height. However, the PSH may vary from one house to another. The factor to consider is that the PSH should have long area to capture maximum sunlight. The upper part is slopping (about 30% gradient) to drain the water and snow. Local semi-skilled labor and skilled mechanic for welding the pipes were employed for construction works.
Approximately 45,000 Afghani/790 USD was spent on the construction of this PSH. The owner made significant investment. He purchased the pipes and plastic contributing approximately 70% of the costs. Plastic sheets, which are available on the market in Bamyan, are not of very high quality and have to be replaced each year. If the used plastic sheet is not too damaged, it is placed on roofs to protect from snow water/rain seepage. Otherwise, it is simply thrown away, which is not an environment friendly practice.
According to the PSH owner, a possibility for improvement is to use good quality wooden frame instead of pipes so that the plastic sheet can be kept intact by nailing it to the wooden frame. Using wooden frames may also reduce the cost of the technology, making it more affordable for poor families. Provision for ventilation is an aspect which needs to be considered while constructing PSH.

Bamyan province is a remote province of Afghanistan with high poverty rate. It has a temperate and arid climate. During winter, temperatures can drop below minus 22 degrees. Summer temperature can reach up to 34 degrees in the month of July. The average annual rainfall in the area is about 230 mm and some years can be very dry.
90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods and off-farm activities are marginal.

2.3 Fotos da tecnologia

2.5 País/região/locais onde a tecnologia foi aplicada e que estão cobertos nesta avaliação



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:

Bamyan Center / Dashte Esakhan

Especifique a difusão da tecnologia :
  • Uniformemente difundida numa área
If the Technology is evenly spread over an area, specify area covered (in km2):


If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • < 0,1 km2 (10 ha)

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.00027 km2.
The PSH and house areas are 85 and 270 square meter, respectively.

2.6 Data da implementação

Caso o ano exato seja desconhecido, indique a data aproximada:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introdução da tecnologia

Especifique como a tecnologia foi introduzida:
  • através de projetos/intervenções externas
Comentários (tipos de projeto, etc.):

The PSH owner saw the technology applied by others and replicated it without any external support. The technology has been promoted by GERES (an International NGO) in Bamyan.

3. Classificação da tecnologia de gestão sustentável da terra

3.1 Principal/principais finalidade(s) da tecnologia

  • Cria impacto social benéfico

3.2 Tipo(s) atualizado(s) de uso da terra onde a tecnologia foi aplicada

Assentamentos, infraestrutura

Assentamentos, infraestrutura

  • Energia: condutores, linhas elétricas

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Degradation of common lands due to shrub harvesting for firewood and overgrazing by sheep and goats.
Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Land degradation due to uprooting of shrubs required for domestic purpose like heating homes during winter and cooking.
Constraints of Infrastructure (House): Lack of alternative energy resources. Heavy dependence on biomass for burning.

Longest growing period in days: 180, Longest growing period from month to month: April-September

3.5 Grupo de gestão sustentável da terra ao qual pertence a tecnologia

  • Tecnologias de eficiência energética

3.6 Medidas de gestão sustentável da terra contendo a tecnologia

Medidas estruturais

Medidas estruturais

  • S11: Outros

Specification of other structural measures: Passive Solar House

3.7 Principais tipos de degradação da terra abordados pela tecnologia

Degradação biológica

Degradação biológica

  • Bc: redução da cobertura vegetal

Main causes of degradation: over-exploitation of vegetation for domestic use (Shrubs for fuel wood), overgrazing (Mainly sheep and goats), governance / institutional (Specially relating to common lands), lack of alternative energy options
Secondary causes of degradation: droughts, population pressure

3.8 Redução, prevenção ou recuperação da degradação do solo

Especifique o objetivo da tecnologia em relação a degradação da terra:
  • Previnir degradação do solo
  • Reduzir a degradação do solo

4. Especificações técnicas, implementação de atividades, entradas e custos

4.1 Desenho técnico da tecnologia

Especificações técnicas (relacionada ao desenho técnico):

Technical specification of South facing Passive Solar House constructed by the house owner comprising white plastic sheet, pipes for framers, string tied outside to secure plastic. Entrance gates.
Location: Dashte Esakhan. Bamyan Centre
Date: 12.05.2014

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate
Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover
Structural measure: Passive Solar House
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 4
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 5
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 17
Construction material (other): Plastic sheet, metal pipes, wires


SLM Project, Helvetas, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Afghanistan

4.2 Informação geral em relação ao cálculo de entradas e custos

Outro/moeda nacional (especifique):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


4.3 Atividades de implantação

Atividade Timing (season)
1. Purchase material from Kabul September 2013
2. Construction of PSH using 4 semi-skilled workers for 3 days and one skilled mechanic September 2013

4.4 Custos e entradas necessárias para a implantação

Especifique a entrada Unidade Quantidade Custos por unidade Custos totais por entrada % dos custos arcados pelos usuários da terra
Mão-de-obra labour ha 1,0 190,12 190,12 100,0
Equipamento plastic ha 1,0 70,28 70,28 100,0
Equipamento pipes ha 1,0 530,31 530,31 100,0
Custos totais para a implantação da tecnologia 790,71
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 13,87

Duration of establishment phase: 1 month(s)

4.5 Atividades recorrentes/manutenção

Atividade Calendarização/frequência
1. Maintainance - plastic sheet As required
2. Replacement of plastic sheet every year

4.6 Custos e entradas necessárias pata a manutenção/atividades recorrentes (por ano)

Especifique a entrada Unidade Quantidade Custos por unidade Custos totais por entrada % dos custos arcados pelos usuários da terra
Mão-de-obra labour ha 1,0 13,78 13,78 100,0
Equipamento plastic ha 1,0 68,92 68,92 100,0
Custos totais para a manutenção da tecnologia 82,7
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 1,45

Machinery/ tools: Plastic Sheets, Pipes, Wires, Generator, Welding Machine
The prices in Afghani are for September 2013. The exchange rate which was used for the conversion of US$ to Afghani was 1 US$ = 57 Afghani.

4.7 Fatores mais importantes que afetam os custos

Descreva os fatores mais determinantes que afetam os custos:

Pipes is the most expensive part of this technology

5. Ambiente naturale e humano

5.1 Clima

Precipitação pluviométrica anual
  • <250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1.000 mm
  • 1.001-1.500 mm
  • 1.501-2.000 mm
  • 2.001-3.000 mm
  • 3.001-4.000 mm
  • > 4.000 mm
Especificações/comentários sobre a pluviosidade:

Most rainfall in spring (April and May) and also there is snow.

Zona agroclimática
  • Semiárido

Thermal climate class: temperate. Bamyan has cold winter (temperatures can fall up to -22 degree C) and temperate summer.

5.2 Topografia

Encostas em média:
  • Plano (0-2%)
  • Suave ondulado (3-5%)
  • Ondulado (6-10%)
  • Moderadamente ondulado (11-15%)
  • Forte ondulado (16-30%)
  • Montanhoso (31-60%)
  • Escarpado (>60%)
Formas de relevo:
  • Planalto/planície
  • Cumes
  • Encosta de serra
  • Encosta de morro
  • Sopés
  • Fundos de vale
Zona de altitude:
  • 0-100 m acima do nível do mar
  • 101-500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 501-1.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 1.001-1.500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 1.501-2.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 2.001-2.500 m acima do nível do mar
  • 2.501-3.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • 3.001-4.000 m acima do nível do mar
  • > 4.000 m acima do nível do mar

5.3 Solos

Profundidade do solo em média:
  • Muito raso (0-20 cm)
  • Raso (21-50 cm)
  • Moderadamente profundo (51-80 cm)
  • Profundo (81-120 cm)
  • Muito profundo (>120 cm)
Textura do solo (solo superficial):
  • Grosso/fino (arenoso)
Matéria orgânica do solo superficial:
  • Médio (1-3%)

5.4 Disponibilidade e qualidade de água

Lençol freático:

5-50 m

Disponibilidade de água de superfície:


Qualidade da água (não tratada):

Água potável boa

5.5 Biodiversidade

Diversidade de espécies:
  • low

5.6 Características dos usuários da terra que utilizam a tecnologia

Rendimento não agrícola:
  • 10-50% de toda renda
Nível relativo de riqueza:
  • Média
Indivíduos ou grupos:
  • Indivíduo/unidade familiar
  • Mulheres
  • Homens
Indique outras características relevantes dos usuários da terra:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users
Difference in the involvement of women and men: All the PSH construction work is done by men.
Population density: 10-50 persons/km2
Annual population growth: 2% - 3%
100% of the land users are average wealthy.

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0,5 ha
  • 0,5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1.000 ha
  • 1.000-10.000 ha
  • > 10.000 ha
É considerado pequena, média ou grande escala (referente ao contexto local)?
  • Pequena escala

5.8 Propriedade de terra, direitos de uso da terra e de uso da água

Propriedade da terra:
  • Indivíduo, intitulado
Direitos do uso da terra:
  • Indivíduo
Direitos do uso da água:
  • Indivíduo

Well belongs to the house owner

5.9 Acesso a serviços e infraestrutura

  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Assistência técnica:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Emprego (p. ex. não agrícola):
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Vias e transporte:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Água potável e saneamento:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom
Serviços finais:
  • Pobre
  • Moderado
  • Bom

6. Impactos e declarações finais

6.1 Impactos no local mostrados pela tecnologia

Impactos socioeconômicos


Geração de energia


For winter season

Renda e custos

Carga de trabalho


Time saved in shrubs collection, burning Bukharis stoves for house warming, going out for daily chores like drying clothes, etc...

Outros impactos socioeconômicos

Reduced expense on fuel (wood and coal)


Due to less consumption of coal and shrubs

Off-season vegetable production for self consumption


Harvested 5 times during winter/spring

Energy saving (coal bags)


Less use of coal for winter heating

Impactos socioculturais

Segurança alimentar/auto-suficiência


Due to increased fresh winter vegetable production. Cash saved can be used for buying food items.

Estado de saúde


Women, men and children are less exposed to severe cold. Also consumption of vegetables grown in the PSH contributes to food diversity and health. PSH also protects chimney smoke from outside entering the house.

Oportunidades culturais


PSH used for social meeting, children play and studies, washing/drying clothes, bathing etc.

Conhecimento de gestão sustentável da terra/degradação da terra


In terms of reducing shrub cutting through alternative energy options. Others see and learn.

Atenuação de conflitos


contribution to human well-being


The technology has contributed to less expenditure on fuel, improved health and has created socio-cultural opportunities.

Impactos ecológicos

Ciclo hídrico/escoamento

Escoamento superficial


As PSH has sloping top without any proper outlet for concentrated runoff

Biodiversidade: vegetação, animais

Diversidade vegetal


As the family can grow certain vegetable crops and flowers inside the PSH during winter time.

Clima e redução de riscos de desastre

Emissão de carbono e gases de efeito estufa


Because of less burning of coal and shrubs

6.2 Impactos externos mostrados pela tecnologia

Increased vagetation cover


Due to less extraction of shrubs for firewood for winter heating

Reduced soil erosion



6.3 Exposição e sensibilidade da tecnologia às mudanças climáticas graduais e extremos/desastres relacionados ao clima (conforme o ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)

Extremos (desastres) relacionados ao clima

Desastres meteorológicos
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Tempestade de vento local não bem

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima

Outras consequências relacionadas ao clima
Como a tecnologia lida com isso?
Intense sun light não bem

Pipes should be replaced by wooden frames because they get heated up and can damage the plastic. Also, using wooden frames may reduce the cost.

6.4 Análise do custo-benefício

Como os benefícios se comparam aos custos de implantação (do ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)?
Retornos a curto prazo:


Retornos a longo prazo:

muito positivo

Como os benefícios se comparam aos custos recorrentes/de manutenção(do ponto de vista dos usuários da terra)?
Retornos a curto prazo:


Retornos a longo prazo:

muito positivo


The cost of the PSH can be covered in 2 years time. This is only in financial terms but if we analyse the overall economic benefits considering health and ecological benefits, the benefits compared with establishment costs will be more.

6.5 Adoção da tecnologia

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
30 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support
There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

6.7 Pontos fortes/vantagens/oportunidades da tecnologia

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Multiple benefits for the family - less expense for fuel, children can play inside in warm climate. It is also a good space for social meetings.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
PSH has multiple benefits: house warming using clean energy, less expenditure on fuel for winter, extra room for various activities (like studies, playing, washing, drying clothes, warming water, social meetings), less use of shrubs.
Due to PSH technology, families dependency on shrubs for firewood is reduced which leads to improved land management.
Convinced by the benefits of PSH technology, many families with financial resources have constructed it without seeking external support.

6.8 Pontos fracos, desvantagens/riscos da tecnologia e formas de superá-los

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Metal pipe is not good for frame because the plastic sheet cannot be nailed to it so that it does not get blown away by wind. Use of wooden frame.
Distance between pipes is more. More pipes needed to reduce that gap.
The air moisture can increase in the PSH as well as in the other parts of the house. The door and if possible the window of the PSH should be opened for some minutes during the day.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
PSH does not have proper ventilation. Construction of a ventilator.
The poor households cannot apply it due to high establishment cost. Use of low cost wooden frame and some incentives to the poor families for establishment.

7. Referências e links

7.1 Métodos/fontes de informação

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
When were the data compiled (in the field)?


Links and modules

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