This passive solar house was designed to be inexpensive, energy-efficient, quick and simple to build, and materially conscious by using only materials that could be purchased at the local hardware store or found on site. This was the first major construction project for the first-time home builder/client with limited knowledge of building construction. The design leans towards the client’s taste for traditional aesthetics while implementing an open floor plan.
The house is oriented to take full advantage of passive solar gain. A large expanse of windows on the south elevation of the house allow the sun to hit a strategically placed CMU wall that acts as a trombe wall radiating heat throughout the day and into the night on sunny winter days. By summer when the sun is higher in the sky, the generous roof overhang protects the home from the hot solar rays.
By day, the home does not require much, if any, electrical usage for lighting. Optimally placed windows provide ample natural lighting throughout the home especially in the kitchen where ample light is necessary for proper sanitation and hygiene for food preparation. The basement is also daylighted – taking advantage of the sloping site.
A wood stove placed adjacent to the trombe wall is used as the primary heat source. Geothermal wells are also implemented to energy-efficiently provide supplemental forced-air heat by winter and to cool the residence by summer.
Operable windows are located at opposite sides of the longitudinal home in the path of the prevailing winds to provide natural ventilation.
A rainwater collection system feeds into a 14,000 gallon underground cistern that provides water for human consumption, bathing, dish washing, toilet flushing, handwashing, irrigating the garden and surrounding vegetation.
The exterior siding was sourced and milled onsite using fallen trees.
The house is outfitted to operate off the grid with installation of photovoltaic solar panels in phase two.