House DesignHere's a rendering of our house design, looking north toward the south face of the house:
And this shows the floor plan from above, with North at the top of this image:
Moving from left (west) to right (east) the more prominent features are:
- Cottage - On the southwest end is an attached yet independent superinsulated two-bedroom cottage to accommodate family members, guests, or possibly rental tenants someday. It has a full living room, kitchen and bath, with about 900 square feet of living space plus a sun porch.
- Entry - A single front door and common entryway connect the cottage to the main house. This provides shared access to the garage and laundry room. This area will be semi-heated so it doesn't freeze, but it won't be kept as warm as the cottage and main house.
- Garage - On the northwest end of the main house is the garage, with enough space for 2 cars plus a tractor, garden equipment etc.
- Solar Heat Storage Tank - The big grey cylinder in the image above, at the east end of the garage, is the 2500-gallon heat storage tank, which stores heat from the solar collectors. Click here for a discussion of how the solar heat storage system was designed. And click here for a discussion of the hydronic heating system that transfers the stored heat into the house.
- Mechanical Room - Just below (south) of the heat storage tank in the image above, the mechanical room contains the plumbing for solar heat collection, domestic hot and cold water, and hydronic floor heat.
- Solar Heat Collectors - Atop the garage, six 4'x10' Heliodyne Gobi flat-plate collectors collect heat for the house plus the hot water supply. They're oriented vertically to reduce the heat gain in the summer, when we need them only for domestic hot water, and also to prevent snow accumulation.
- Main Living Space - this superinsulated section holds three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room (about 1800 square feet). The south-facing windows have carefully designed overhangs to allow full sun in winter for passive solar gain and to provide full shade in summer.
- Kitchen - The octagonal kitchen is at the center of the main living space, since most of our activities seem to revolve around food. Click here for more info on the kitchen design.
- Solar Roof - Atop the main living space are 30 Evergreen Solar PV panels rated for a total of 6150 watts. They're oriented at 60 degrees from horizontal, which gives somewhat more energy and better snow shedding in the winter, at the expense of slightly less output in the summer.
- Workshop - On the east end of the main living space is the workshop, with a sun porch and lanai in front. The workshop is large enough to accommodate all of Jay's woodworking and metal working tools, plus some of our other hobbies like pottery and stained glass. A row of clerestory windows across the top provides lots of light and some additional passive solar gain. This space will be heated only when in use.
- Cistern - Underneath the enclosed sun porch on the south side of the workshop is the 12,000 gallon cistern that will collect rainwater from the main section of the roof.