Passive Solar

I knew that relying on only passive solar to heat the entire space would be unrealistic, but I wanted to still use it as much as I could.  The following diagrams show my strategies with solar shields, overhangs, and lightwells.  You can see the difference between the high summer sun and the low winter sun and how they effect the spaces.

I have a few ideas of how to treat the light wells and how they are open during the winter for solar gain and shielded in the summer to block direct light.  I could envision either an insulated translucent shield that would bolt on top in the winter, a solar panel that could cover it, or even something that hinges on the front of it, and can easily be shifted into the new position. 

Passive Cooling

The cross ventilation is important especially, it was a direct reaction of the form because of it.  The earth tubes are a bit more complicated.  Working with the north facing slope, it left my bedrooms in weird areas to be used for cross ventilation.  I looked into earth tubes as a result, and they work pretty good.  It is a way of using geothermal heat transfer with a mix of active fans to draw the hot air out of a space.  This is still a very loose solution....however it is a solution to incorporate some passive cooling for these hard to get spaces.


I really didn't know much about geothermal energy when I started this, but it is a very basic way to get energy from the earth.  This was actually a mention of the client so I decided to go with it.  This illustration also looks at my solution for minimizing earthwork, re-using the disturbed fill, and how the tubes can be coiled underneath a space that will already be getting dug up.   

The geothermal coils will be the main source of energy for the house.  This uses the earths thermal energy, and harnesses it in a circulating system.  This is a renewable energy source, and is extremely efficient.

Site Attributes

Garden space is one of the things I wanted to incorporate into the project.  It grows useful plants and vegetables for the inhabitant, as well as creates a natural filtration system to release the water back into the stream.  The tiered planters offer a way to utilize site water from one to the other.  The base is built up from extra cut land, the soil is used after it is collected and separated from the excavation.