The design of this house is an adaptation of the basic small home that was built in Tahoe for decades. The structure is a simple box that is broken at the Living Room by a taller element that collects sunlight and defines the space. The Living Room becomes a dramatic space with tall walls and a high ceiling that is the passive solar engine that helps to heat the entire house. This serves as the focal point of the house on the interior as well as the exterior. The south facing roof on either side of this tall element is pitched at the optimum angle for solar panels which are an integral design component.
As with most of our projects that take advantage of passive solar heating, the floor plan was elongated along the East-West axis to take advantage of the southern exposure. The living space and one of the bedrooms are located along the south wall and have the appropriate glazing to take advantage of the sun. The garage, which will serve primarily as a workshop is on the north side to buffer the conditioned space from the cold northern exposure. The mechanical space is centrally located to be accessible from the garage but also to keep the plumbing runs short for the hydronic radiant heat.. An airlock entry keeps cold winter air from directly entering the heated space.
Exterior walls are constructed using the TridiPanel system. This revolutionary wall construction uses panels of 5” foam with a wire mesh on both sides on which 1-1/2” of concrete is applied. The result is a well insulated, tightly constructed thermal mass wall 8” thick. Besides being an important element in an energy saving design the wall is also fire and water damage resistant. Although solar electric and solar hydronic panels could not be included in the initial construction the home was pre wired and pre plumbed for their installation in the near future.