University of Maryland WaterShed

“Instead of focusing only on energy efficiency at this year’s Solar Decathlon, the University of Maryland is also tackling water conservancy with their entry, WaterShed. WaterShed was inspired by the ecosystem of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. WaterShed is an example of … Continue reading →

David W. Allan’s Solar Home

“Located in the cooler central Utah climate at 6,000 foot elevation, the Allan’s solar home integrates at least ten different forms of solar, including: trombe wall, solarium convection, photovoltaic cells, propylene-glycol heat exchange, eutectic salt chamber, berm insulation, black chimneys … Continue reading →

3 Reasons to Build Your Own Attached Greenhouse

“Building your own greenhouse is a great idea if you are a gardener and want space to start seedlings, or grow plants that require a longer growing season than your climate can normally provide. But a standalone greenhouse is one … Continue reading →

Sun Tempered Architecture – Socrates House

What is an optimum house shape that stays warm in winter and cool in summer without reliance on outside energy sources? Designers have grappled with this question since ancient times. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, studied this problem about 2,500 years … Continue reading →

PAHS Principles Explained

A simple underground house design uses a novel insulating/water-shedding blanket that covers the structure and surrounding soil. The umbrella creates a huge subterranean thermal reservoir that soaks up the sun’s energy during summertime and stores it for winter heating. In … Continue reading →

Evolution of the Pit House

I’ll never forget the Native American museum exhibit of a pit house in Anchorage, Alaska. I couldn’t stop staring at it. Pit houses are so simple and yet so effective that people lived in structures like this for thousands of … Continue reading →