Passive Solar House Design Oregon

Aug 17 2010

Passive solar house design is a holistic approach to creating a home that maximizes  natural light and heats itself. Anthony has been in the business of passive solar house design in Oregon for over 30 years, and has designed homes in Oregon’s various climates—the coast, eastern Oregon, the Willamette Valley—using passive solar home design principles that accommodate homeowners’ aesthetics.

The style of home is dependent on the clients’ preferences. Passive solar home design is a straightfoward formula that, however, needs to be applied with rigor, while at the same time creating the spatial function and aesthetics the home owners desire.

The formula: Identify the area to be heated passively, calculate the appropriate glass area to heat that area, then size the thermal mass that will store the heat overnight to warm the home the following morning.

One of the more successful passive solar houses that Anthony has designed in Oregon is the Laakso house in the upper reaches of the Crooked River drainage east of Prineville. The house is off-grid, heated by the sun, with lighting provided by a photovoltaic system. The Laakso residence is featured on our website banner.

Contact Anthony at 503-368-6141 for more information on passive solar homes and for on-site evaluations.

Anthony Stoppiello has been a pioneer in passive solar homes in Oregon and Washington for 30 years.

8 responses so far

  1. […] See more info on passive solar homes in Oregon […]

  2. Anthony,
    Please contact me regarding a consultation on a house design on my property here west of Philomath. OR.

    Thanks,
    Dave Wills
    541 929 7236

  3. We plan on building a passive solar home in Bend Oregon where we have lots of sunshine. Thanks for all the good info on solar homes.

  4. Thanks for your comment. Let me know if I can help in some way when you begin looking at a building site…that’s the first thing to do when selecting property: evaluate it for solar access.
    Anthony

  5. Greetings.

    We are planning to build a small (straw bale probably) house near Elkton in Douglas County (Lat: 43.2). We would like to include passive solar heating and cooling in the project. We have researched it quite a bit, but cannot make a final decision.

    We are in a canyon where we can have 15 degrees of mountain top in the SW sky. That does not seem to be a problem when graphed on a sun chart for our area–with shading only effecting the late afternoon (2 pm in Dec and Jan–if I did it rcorrectly).

    I guess what concerns me most is the overcast skies we have so often when heating is necessary. We are in the coast range about 30 crow-fly miles from the Pacific. I see you have done some passive solar on the coast, and was wondering how it worked out. I have not found a way to quantify cloud cover when searching the literature.

    Another concern I have resulted from trying to find info about building a passive solar house. I found that Oregon is offering tax credits for passive solar. Since our house will be owner-built, I am wondering if the credits can apply in our situation since most credits require contractors. Or if going with a contractor would pay for itself with the credits??

    Thanks,
    Ed

  6. Hi Ed,
    You have two questions.
    The first question is whether passive solar heating and cooling will work in an overcast weather condition. Simple answer is yes, because a properly designed, oriented, and insulated passive solar structure will both heat and cool in your climate. (I don’t believe mechanical air conditioning is necessary anywhere except in the SE United States IF the building is properly oriented and vented.) Also note that while photovoltaic generation of electricity does require bright sunshine, passive heating does not…it operates on the greenhouse effect.

    Your second question had to do with energy tax credits. I suggest you contact the Oregon Department of Energy for more information. Generally, they require a properly designed and documented building proposal in order to ascertain whether the building will perform as claimed. Who constructs the building is not as important as how it is designed.

    Thanks for your inquiry. I was just on the southern Oregon coast two weeks ago and it would have been an easy jaunt to meet with you on your site. I have also reviewed people’s owner/builder plans, made comments and suggestions for good solar design. If that becomes important for you, please contact me again.
    Anthony

  7. I want to buy or build a 1,500 Sq ft. passive solar home in Oregon. Too big of a house wastes resources. I like the idea of a greenhouse incorporated into the design.
    Ideally, I would like to be in between Portland and Eugene. Some photovoltaic if possible. Any recommendations for location? Roughly, what would be cost per foot for maximum efficiency? It would need to be constructed by a professional builder. How long to complete construction?
    sincerely,
    John Pacetti

  8. Hi John,
    A passive solar house can be built anywhere in Oregon as long as the sun can reach the south wall of the building during the heating season.
    I cannot give you an idea of construction cost/square foot because that depends on the quality of construction and the type of materials you want (e.g. formica vs. granite countertops, painted plywood siding vs. metal siding).
    If you want to discuss this further, please call me at my office phone, listed on the website. I will be out of town the next few days.
    Anthony

Leave a Reply