SOLAR HOUSE PLANS
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We are a company of licensed Professional Engineers, led by Edward Moran PE CEng, designing buildings since 1983. We started energy engineering 15 years ago when passive solar design was primarily the application of design guidelines & rules of thumb. Window glazing was distributed around the building in generally agreed proportions, insulated floor slabs were considered essential in all cases & overhangs were sized to suit the latitude. This resulted in satisfactory residences in Texas but overheated homes in Florida & cold houses in Oregon.
Today, passive solar design utilizes the application of software developed primarily by US government agencies which can take all the important variables into account to ensure that each house plan will utilize the suns energy in an efficient manner in accordance with its location.
We use this software & apply it to our home designs so as to achieve as harmonious a living environment as we can, so our homes will benefit from the use of the suns energy without having to suffer excessive glare or lack of privacy. We design practical Passive Solar House Plans, because we aspire to the security of the zero energy home, a home that may even produce a surplus of energy to fuel your electric car, but we want to do this without compromising comfort, affordability or aesthetics.
We’re not into solar chimneys, fans & flaps or walls of glass, we simply use the direct energy gain from the sun by suitably orientating the glazing so as to maximize passive solar heating when it’s cold outside, & we design an array of overhang types in the locations they are needed, combined with an ability to cross ventilate, to passively cool your home if need be. The result? An energy bill reduced by between 12% & 66%, depending on where you are in the country, when you compare our homes with a regular home.
You’ll find more specific information about the energy savings available in our individual house PLAN.pdf PACK’s.
Our house plans are individual in that they have design variations to suit the passive solar energy zones we found around the country. We found the zones when we started to map the USA from a passive solar point of view. There is a wealth of climate data available & we specifically chose 250 cities across the country, which have been monitored over a 30 year period, to form the basis for our investigation. There are several climate maps available but none seemed to be geared to suit passive solar design which is primarily reliant on solar radiation & the relationship between “heating degree” & “cooling degree” days. So as we started to investigate the data relationships for the cities we had chosen we started to see that there are zones which vary from “Very Hot & Very Sunny” through to “Very Cold & Very Cloudy”.
We then wanted to find out how a “standard” home would perform in these different zones & compare it to a “passive solar” home. This we did with the help of the Climate Consultant 5.0 software developed by the UCLA Energy Design Tools Group & SUNREL software developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The energy saving results we got were surprising & more information is provided in our individual house PLAN.pdf PACK’s.
The primary aspect of our design philosophy is that living in beautiful spaces evokes the beauty in us.
For example, imagine a cool Sunday afternoon, lying on the cushions in your window seat with a good book, looking out at the trees or up at the sky when the moment strikes you, there's a fire in the fireplace & your family are nearby. You have your own space to be in & can start to relax into yourself.
This is what we imagine for you & why window seats are a recurrent theme in our designs. We think you'll enjoy them.
It seems the days of the Mac Mansions are behind us & there is a greater awareness of getting better value for money & eliminating waste from the one’s life & home. Our house designs meet that need & are closer to the “small is beautiful” rather than the “more is better” way of living.
The house designs you will find here are based on plans of houses that have already been built & all the plans have been engineered by our Professional Engineers & reviewed to confirm their buildability. They have been designed to meet IBC requirements using floor slabs/suspended first floors & timber framed walls, suspended upper floors where applicable & roof. Our Engineers & Designers can modify the floor plans to suit changes our Clients may require, at a reasonable cost.
Typical modification requests which can be dealt with for $100 include:
• Mirroring the floor plan.
• 3 hours of drafting time to make modifications to layout.
• Change the foundation to a slab, raised with crawl space, raised with basement or raised with walkout basement.
Additionally, our designers can make further changes or use one of our plans as a basis to create a custom design to suit your specific site requirements, for an agreed fee or hourly rate.
Please let us know if you have any questions about anything you have read or seen here on our website.
We provide our plans in 3 different packages.
The PLAN.pdf Pack is an Architectural set of plans designed to provide detailed information about how the home will be laid out & how it will look. There is also a sheet which provides a description of the method we used to solar engineer our houses. See the free plans noted below that provide the architectural data for one of our homes.
The BUILD.pdf PACK is an Engineered set of plans designed to provide information on how to build the house you have chosen. It includes electrical & structural data. See the free plans noted below that provide the construction data for one of our homes.
The CAD.dwg PACK is the AutoCAd file that was used to generate the PLAN & BUILD pdfs. The file data is freely available to modify to suit the individual requirements of our Clients.
To obtain a Building permit from your local jurisdiction will require a variety of additional information depending on your location. Typically a Plot Plan of your site, showing the location of the proposed home & its relation to the boundaries as well as the available utilities, will be required. Also, generally, specific Structural Engineering will be required by a registered Civil/Structural Engineer to show that the house will be capable of supporting the loads specific to the region, be they wind, seismic or snow loads. We can provide the calculations & drawing revisions required on request. Some States require Energy Calculations which will show there is sufficient insulation & the materials used are satisfactory & will not result in excessive heat loss or gain. Again we can provide these calculations on request.
........................THE BEST FORM OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS TO USE THE FREE ENERGY OF THE SUN.........................