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  Solar House

Solar House, page 32Architect

John Kosmer
P.O. Box 92, Fly Creek, NY 13337

General Description

Location: Fly Creek, New York
Date Bid: Mar 2006
Construction Period: May 2006 to May 2007
Total Square Feet: 3,808 Site: 26 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: Garage, 1,008; first floor, 1,400; second floor, 1,400, total, 3,808* square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 9'6"; second, 8'6"; each
additional floor, 8'6" total, 28'6".
Basic Construction Type: New/Wood Frame.
Foundation: Cast-in-place. Exterior Walls: Concrete, siding. Roof: Asphalt shingles. Floors: Concrete.
Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall. 

Construction Team

General Contractor: Building with Integrity, Inc. - 228 Poolbrook Road, Laurens, NY 13796
Solar Engineer: Bruce Brownell - Adirondack Alternative Energy 98 Northville Road, Edinburg, NY 12134

"In the 21st century, any home design that does not provide maximum annual energy savings is a nonstarter. In this new epoch, if you don't incorporate super energy efficiency into a new home plan, you simply become a 21st Century Nero: fiddling with home design as America burns fuel," stated John Kosmer owner and designer of a passive solar home.

Kosmer designed a 4,000-square-foot traditional style passive solar home located in cold upstate New York that uses $2.50 a day for heat - between $900 and $1,200 a year. The house was built at the same cost as a comparable size Energy Star(R) qualified home, but uses 70% less energy to heat. This savings would be even greater if the house was not in the Snow Belt and had regular height ceilings.

Bruce Brownell, a nationally recognized solar engineer for over 30 years, tailored the passive solar system that was incorporated in the house. Four-inch thick rigid polyurethane was used on the exterior walls, under the roof and beneath the one-foot concrete slab. A state-of-the-art boiler provides supplemental heat during the coldest weather. And, the exterior finish is a pre-finished concrete siding with a 50-year warranty.

Simonton windows were used throughout the home and garage. "My research firmly led me to Simonton Windows". The Energy Star compliant windows from Simonton with a glass package that includes Argon gas filling, double glazing and Low E Softcoat to retain the sun's energy," Kosmer states.

Over 80 casement windows in the home pour sunlight into the white interior and on the natural blonde bamboo floors throughout the house. Air heated by the sun rises several stories and is drawn into air ducts. A large squirrel cage fan in the main duct channels the air into the concrete slab and then redistributes it into the home to keep it at a comfortable temperature.

The price per square foot was kept low using several strategies such as a simple structure of a 30 x 50-footprint with one dormer; using sheet rock for staircases instead of a traditional banister; marble tile for the window sills; and a modified truss in the garage for a 20-foot clear span that netted a 11 x 30-foot deep storage area on the second floor. A comprehensive description of how the home was built and functions can be seen at www.SolarHouseProject.com.


DIV. 7: Shingles: Certainteed Presidential Shake; Siding: Hardie Plank; Skylights: Velux; Insulation: Dow Tuff-R
® Rigid Insulation; Certainteed Fiberglass Insulation.
DIV. 8: Doors: Therma Thru; Windows: Simonton.
DIV. 9: Tile: Crossville Ceramic Eco-Tile; Bamboo Flooring: Mannington.
DIV. 12: Appliances: GE Profile.
DIV. 23: Water Heating: Baxi Energy Star Qualifed; Panels: Luna 3 Boiler.

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