A Passive Solar, Bermed House Using ICF Walls

 This is an overview of Tracey's very nicely designed passive solar home on Prince Edward Island, Canada -- see the links and video for full details.


passive solar bermed home


Some of the unique features include: berming on the winter wind sides, a roofline that provides good interior lighting, solar gain and summer heat gain protection, ICF walls, passive solar windows, light tubes for interior lighting...

If you are wondering if an energy efficient, passive solar home can be built on  a budget, here is the answer.

Description and Video Tour from Tracey

video on Tracey's house
Click on the picture for the video

The video (above) is of an earth-bermed (North/West sides only), ICF (insulated concrete foundation), passive solar house in Prince Edward Island, Canada. 

It is a three bedroom, 1 bath, 1218 square foot house on slab (frost wall and insulation under the slab) that has polished concrete floors and uses Solatubes to add lighting in areas where there are no windows to add natural day lighting. 

The walls are 12 inches of ICF www.nudura.com (insulation/concrete/insulation) up to the rafters (approx R-50)- 16 foot high walls in the main room (12 feet at the back wall) on the front south side with lots of windows to capture the sun in the winter.  The overhang on front of a sloped steel roof to prevents overheating in the summer months. 

Interior walls are wood with gyproc and are 10 feet high, except the bathroom and hall. 

We are adding a wood stove for back up heat, however don't feel we will need more than 2 cords. 

Our Architect was Robert Haggis www.eccarch.com and our builder was Danny Rochon http://www.yorktownconstruction.ca/

passive solar home plan

Floor plan -- 1218 sqft

For more background, details and architect design development see the e-book or paperback on Amazon http://amzn.com/0988033356 or www.simplifyandsave.ca

solar passive home strategy
The solar strategy for home -- this is an early version of the home with a complex roof that was simplified for cost reasons.

In the book I list the energy for electric for our last house (we were using 4 cord of wood plus $2,000 in oil/year) and definitely plan to track energy on this house.....we think we will have $100/month electric (hot water and rest of electricity) plus maybe some wood for the very cold and non-sunny days...other passive solar houses in the area wood construction not ICF report 1/2 cord (earth bermed on three sides) to 2 cord (just wood open to the elements) a year for their back up heating with wood.



Tracey's website with lots of good ideas is Simplify and Save...

I've read Tracey's book, and its a very good description of what goes into planning a solar home and making the compromises to build it on a budget.

More on ICF construction and R values here...


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Gary August 28, 2012