Check this house out...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paula, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    TN
    We've been looking at different type houses and plans for about a year now. We're planning to build on our bigger farm in the next few years, move there, and sell this place.
    We keep coming back to this design:

    http://www.thenaturalhome.com/passivesolar.html

    Does anyone have any experience with this company? Any possible pitfalls apparent to those of you with building experience?
    The house looks relatively easy to build, we have enough experience that we would probably only hire out the foundation. We would use the dry-stack method, and would probably berm it on 3 sides (with the best waterproofing we can find, money is no object as far as that goes because I'm a worry wart about leakage) to help with cooling. We like that it would mostly heat and cool itself. I keep reminding dh that it's easy to cut, haul and burn wood now, but what about 20 yrs. from now.
    We have a couple of springs on the place, but would probably build a rainwater collection system for our house water and use the springs for backup because the springs aren't real close to the only south-facing hillside there.
    Our climate is fairly warm, so we would be building the roof with an overhang over the glass, and don't know if we would need such a drastic slant to the glass.
    I appreciate any and all insight and advice you guys can provide!


    BTW - there are links under the pics that will take you to pages with more pics, possible floorplans and info.
     
  2. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    Sorry- no experience with this company. However I don't like companies that tell you other methods aren't good, and then use "!" while they explain, reminds me of a tv commercial, just trying to get your attention. It may be worth looking into a group of companies using this method. Houses are a huge investment. Good luck.
     

  3. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

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    Montana
    Hi,
    I don't have any direct experience with this company.

    One thing I don't care for is that the south facing windows are tilted. This does improve collection a bit in the winter, but it results in huge heat gains in the summer which are unwanted and hard to control. Most solar designers favor vertical south facing windows with an overhang that protects them from the high summer sun, but allows the low winter sun to shine in and provide heat.

    If you take a look at some of the articles on passive solar home guidilines on my site, you will see what I mean:
    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/guidesps.htm

    As an example, 300 sqft of south facing window tilted at 60 degrees at 40 degrees north latitude (mid US) will receive just over 500,000 BTU on a sunny mid summer day. This is kind of like running the furnace for 5 or 6 hours a day -- probably not what you want in mid-summer :)

    Gary
    www.BuildItSolar.com
     
  4. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes,such a good arguement for grape arbors and shade trees that drop leaves in winter.A very elegant solution,can even provide food with those plants.
    Gotta love it :D

    BooBoo<--- needs an earthship styled home :clap:
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Gary,
    In our climate we would need a good overhang that would completely shade the glass in the summer. The designer says the design can be built with vertical glass, but that plants grow better with slanted glass. Again, don't know if that applies as much here. The planterbed along the inside length of the south side is one of the things we like about the design.
    High heat gain is part of the design (HOW high would obviously have to be adjusted for our climate.) It's used to help ventilate fresh air through the house, which we like the idea of in theory - but does the design work in practice. How will the planterbed work with that much heat gain (and with very little sunlight in the summer.) Would we forever be adjusting vents.
    We have lots of questions like this. We like the design - we like the simple layout we could have for inside, and the simple (translate ugly) outside design would be hidden by the earth berming.
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Odd how much the design looks like Michael Reynold's earthships. Except this design doesn't use the tires. You might want to see if you can get your local library to order the earthship books for you if they don't have them on hand. There are three in the set.