grow at your own pace
Start with a small 8′ x 12′ (non-permitted) base unit that can be built together to expand the space to meet your needs.
We can help you build the first one and you can see the wider versions are simply created by building multiple units and placing them side-by-side.
Passive Solar design is tricky because good solar design is extremely site dependent. This simple shape is an attempt to offer as much flexibility as possible so that it can be tailored to your building site. There are some enhancements that can be made to improve the solar qualities of this design:
An insulated concrete slab floor will provide more thermal mass and store more solar energy. Check you local building codes before choosing the rite foundation for your house.
Back Wall Thermal Mass:
Another opportunity for thermal mass heat storage is the back wall of a solar house. In the Winter when the sun is low in the sky it can shine thru the windows and onto the back wall of a house. If the wall is masonry and insulated on the exterior side it will store that heat and release it at nite. In some climates this may not be desired or practical.
Back Wall Windows:
In some regions it makes sense to add windows on the wall opposite the solar wall to provide cross-ventilation. Back wall windows can also be major heat leaks in the Winter.
The optimal front eave length really depends on many things including trees on the build site, local climate and latitude. The front eave blocks the high Summer sun from directly hitting the front windows that helps keep your house cool when it’s hot outside and welcomes the low Winter sun when it’s cold.
It’s always a good idea to use additional metal bracing when framing a building like joist hangers and hurricane straps. Each region will have different requirements for implementing these supports so please check with your local authority for bracing requirements. One of the leading manufacturers of metal bracing is Simpson Strong Tie and their website contains a lot of information about when to use metal bracing. No matter what brand you choose for metal bracing, the Simpson site can be a great learning tool.
NOTE: Before building any structure be sure to check with your local authorities. In many communities permits are not needed when building “tiny” buildings like sheds but the rules range widely so it’s best to research your local restrictions before building anything.