Among the first Passive Houses in France, this bamboo-clad farmhouse by the Parisian firm Karawitz Architecture only uses a tenth of the energy a conventionally constructed home does. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.
Among the first Passive Houses in France, this bamboo-clad farmhouse by the Parisian firm Karawitz Architecture only uses a tenth of the energy a conventionally constructed home does. Photo by Nicholas Calcott.
The entire cabin is powered by the rooftop solar system from Solarwinds Northernlights. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," Bruce says.
The entire cabin is powered by the rooftop solar system from Solarwinds Northernlights. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," Bruce says.
The Lai family—Mayuko, baby Shota on her lap, David, Maya, and Yumi sitting on a cushion on the deck—relaxes in their indoor-outdoor living space, made by opening the glass sliding doors to connect the living room and engawa deck.
The Lai family—Mayuko, baby Shota on her lap, David, Maya, and Yumi sitting on a cushion on the deck—relaxes in their indoor-outdoor living space, made by opening the glass sliding doors to connect the living room and engawa deck.
The most sustainable element of all is the Lais’ intention to make their first home their last home as well. “Some people have this mentality of getting a starter house, then upgrading from there,” David says. “We just wanted to find a place to live in and then stay there forever.” Eventually they imagine passing the home down to their children.
The most sustainable element of all is the Lais’ intention to make their first home their last home as well. “Some people have this mentality of getting a starter house, then upgrading from there,” David says. “We just wanted to find a place to live in and then stay there forever.” Eventually they imagine passing the home down to their children.
Angela Brooks and son Calder revel in the benefits of free solar energy, cheerfully opening the living room’s big glass doors when it’s time to play.
Angela Brooks and son Calder revel in the benefits of free solar energy, cheerfully opening the living room’s big glass doors when it’s time to play.
Using technology to design a home as energy-efficient as possible was a priority for Hague, both from a financial and philosophical standpoint. Along with Passive House certification for the main house, a solar array on the roof of the barn keeps energy use near zero. In fact, the entire property was Net Zero before the addition of the pool, and it may soon generate an energy surplus with the addition of a second solar array at the main house.
Using technology to design a home as energy-efficient as possible was a priority for Hague, both from a financial and philosophical standpoint. Along with Passive House certification for the main house, a solar array on the roof of the barn keeps energy use near zero. In fact, the entire property was Net Zero before the addition of the pool, and it may soon generate an energy surplus with the addition of a second solar array at the main house.
Setsumasa and Hideaki toss on the rain fly. The solar panel in the foreground supplies daytime electricity.
Setsumasa and Hideaki toss on the rain fly. The solar panel in the foreground supplies daytime electricity.
A 1.4-kW solar array by Sharp and propane-powered in-floor radiant heating from Radiantec obviate any need to connect to municipal power.
A 1.4-kW solar array by Sharp and propane-powered in-floor radiant heating from Radiantec obviate any need to connect to municipal power.
Keep the Home Fires Burning

Using wood for heat and energy keeps the Wadhams’ environmental footprint small and helps avoid the use of coal- or nuclear-powered electricity. Come winter, the couple relies on an Esse wood-burning stove for cooking, heating, and feeding a set of small radiators. In summer, they use the stove’s electric component, which is powered by solar energy.
Keep the Home Fires Burning Using wood for heat and energy keeps the Wadhams’ environmental footprint small and helps avoid the use of coal- or nuclear-powered electricity. Come winter, the couple relies on an Esse wood-burning stove for cooking, heating, and feeding a set of small radiators. In summer, they use the stove’s electric component, which is powered by solar energy.
Most impressive of all, a solar array on the roof empowers the residents to produce more energy than they consume on-site.
Most impressive of all, a solar array on the roof empowers the residents to produce more energy than they consume on-site.
Moore has been using the so-called beetle-kill pine in his projects for years. In the Damianos’ house, he lined the floors, ceiling, cabinetry, and walls of the second-story living area, white-washing the planks “to let a little more sunlight bounce around the room.”
Moore has been using the so-called beetle-kill pine in his projects for years. In the Damianos’ house, he lined the floors, ceiling, cabinetry, and walls of the second-story living area, white-washing the planks “to let a little more sunlight bounce around the room.”
Porches are a beloved element of the Southern vernacular and lifestyle, traditionally serving as an extension of the indoors—a shady place to gather, socialize, or share a meal. So when the students of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, entered the Solar Decathlon, a biennial energy-efficient residential design competition, the iconic space figured prominently in their concept. Here, a canopy of bifacial solar panels covers the porch and provides energy for the home.
Porches are a beloved element of the Southern vernacular and lifestyle, traditionally serving as an extension of the indoors—a shady place to gather, socialize, or share a meal. So when the students of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, entered the Solar Decathlon, a biennial energy-efficient residential design competition, the iconic space figured prominently in their concept. Here, a canopy of bifacial solar panels covers the porch and provides energy for the home.
The cabin’s exterior walls and roof are clad in overlapping stone plates that mimic the look of traditional wood paneling found in Western Norway. “It provides an affinity with the cabins nearby,” partner and architect Nils Ole Bae Brandtzæg explains. Solar panels cover the chimney pipe, lighting LED lamps inside.
The cabin’s exterior walls and roof are clad in overlapping stone plates that mimic the look of traditional wood paneling found in Western Norway. “It provides an affinity with the cabins nearby,” partner and architect Nils Ole Bae Brandtzæg explains. Solar panels cover the chimney pipe, lighting LED lamps inside.
On all three aboveground levels of the house, outdoor spaces feature as prominently as indoor ones. The backyard is lined with tiered concrete boxes for planting vegetables; the modest top floor—which houses the master bedroom—has a deck wrapping three sides; and in the middle, a 770-square-foot green roof extends off the living area.

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On all three aboveground levels of the house, outdoor spaces feature as prominently as indoor ones. The backyard is lined with tiered concrete boxes for planting vegetables; the modest top floor—which houses the master bedroom—has a deck wrapping three sides; and in the middle, a 770-square-foot green roof extends off the living area. Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.
A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.
The Sustainable L.A. Grand Challenge, a UCLA initiative with 150 faculty across 40 different departments, has the stated goal of bringing the L.A. region to 100% sustainability in water and energy while enhancing biodiversity by 2050.
The Sustainable L.A. Grand Challenge, a UCLA initiative with 150 faculty across 40 different departments, has the stated goal of bringing the L.A. region to 100% sustainability in water and energy while enhancing biodiversity by 2050.
Composed of 220 aluminum "light shelves," the solar reflector screen is the focal point of the front façade. The home takes advantage of its Southern exposure, using the reflector screen to funnel sunlight and warmth deep into the interior space.
Composed of 220 aluminum "light shelves," the solar reflector screen is the focal point of the front façade. The home takes advantage of its Southern exposure, using the reflector screen to funnel sunlight and warmth deep into the interior space.
Sulfurcell solar panels.
Sulfurcell solar panels.
A typical home uses somewhere around 150-200 therms of natural gas to heat water each year. With a solar system, usage is reduced to around 100 therms a year.
A typical home uses somewhere around 150-200 therms of natural gas to heat water each year. With a solar system, usage is reduced to around 100 therms a year.
The Damianos’ house, located in Denver’s Highland neighborhood, runs completely on solar 

energy.
The Damianos’ house, located in Denver’s Highland neighborhood, runs completely on solar energy.
Thanks to passive solar and radiant floors, the metal-clad home is comfortable year-round.
Thanks to passive solar and radiant floors, the metal-clad home is comfortable year-round.
The bottom floor contains the kitchen and the dining area; the lounge is upstairs. The cabinets are from Ikea, as are the table and chairs, and the child’s Tripp Trapp chair is from Stokke.
The bottom floor contains the kitchen and the dining area; the lounge is upstairs. The cabinets are from Ikea, as are the table and chairs, and the child’s Tripp Trapp chair is from Stokke.
Suttles and Shah readied the house for photovoltaic panels, a solar waterheating system for the pool, and a rainwater collection setup.
Suttles and Shah readied the house for photovoltaic panels, a solar waterheating system for the pool, and a rainwater collection setup.
Solar Panels
Solar Panels
A solar array (on the left-hand side of the photo) powers the lights and outlets (and laptops) during the day.
A solar array (on the left-hand side of the photo) powers the lights and outlets (and laptops) during the day.
A panorama of sylvan hills and ocean views surrounds artist Richard Brothers’s environmentally minded Orcas Island, Washington, home.
A panorama of sylvan hills and ocean views surrounds artist Richard Brothers’s environmentally minded Orcas Island, Washington, home.
“Often when we talk about sustainability we focus on the gadgetry, what makes things feasible off grid,” Moffitt says. “But to me there are more interesting things in passive design that rely on the available sun and wind.” An eight-panel solar array does chip in significantly, generating all the electricity the house needs.
“Often when we talk about sustainability we focus on the gadgetry, what makes things feasible off grid,” Moffitt says. “But to me there are more interesting things in passive design that rely on the available sun and wind.” An eight-panel solar array does chip in significantly, generating all the electricity the house needs.
Designer Sue Macintosh chose the Farrow & Ball Off-Black paint for the master bedroom.
Designer Sue Macintosh chose the Farrow & Ball Off-Black paint for the master bedroom.
LED Solar Numbers 

By Matterinc

$20 each, 6.375” H x 3.5” W, silver or black anodized aluminum
LED Solar Numbers By Matterinc $20 each, 6.375” H x 3.5” W, silver or black anodized aluminum
To power the building, Blee and Halligan hooked up two solar panels—though not without difficulty. "The roof faces the wrong way—north—so we couldn't mount the panels on it," Blee says. Instead, they affixed the two 1.5-by-1.5-foot solar arrays to a nearby existing wall and ran cables back to the structure. To increase efficiency by not having to convert the 12-volt power coming from the panels to higher, more appliance-friendly wattage, the architects installed 12-volt light fixtures throughout. "You can't plug a laptop into the wall, but it's a more simple and robust system: just two panels wired into the battery," Blee says.
To power the building, Blee and Halligan hooked up two solar panels—though not without difficulty. "The roof faces the wrong way—north—so we couldn't mount the panels on it," Blee says. Instead, they affixed the two 1.5-by-1.5-foot solar arrays to a nearby existing wall and ran cables back to the structure. To increase efficiency by not having to convert the 12-volt power coming from the panels to higher, more appliance-friendly wattage, the architects installed 12-volt light fixtures throughout. "You can't plug a laptop into the wall, but it's a more simple and robust system: just two panels wired into the battery," Blee says.
Solar Decathlon
Solar Decathlon
Rooftop solar panels and a rainwater filtration system minimize its dependence on the grid.
Rooftop solar panels and a rainwater filtration system minimize its dependence on the grid.
The UC system and UCLA have a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, with solar water heating an important part of that goal.
The UC system and UCLA have a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, with solar water heating an important part of that goal.
Solar water heating converts solar radiation to conductive heat to raise water temperature. A pump circulates transfer fluid from the tank to the roof, where solar collectors absorb the sun’s thermal energy and heat the transfer liquid. The transfer liquid enters a heat exchanger, warming the water in the storage tank, and the hot water flows to a traditional or tankless water heater that provides backup heating when the sun isn’t shining.
Solar water heating converts solar radiation to conductive heat to raise water temperature. A pump circulates transfer fluid from the tank to the roof, where solar collectors absorb the sun’s thermal energy and heat the transfer liquid. The transfer liquid enters a heat exchanger, warming the water in the storage tank, and the hot water flows to a traditional or tankless water heater that provides backup heating when the sun isn’t shining.
All but one homeowner at Auburn chose to install solar panels supplied by Buel Solar on the “solar-ready” roofs.
All but one homeowner at Auburn chose to install solar panels supplied by Buel Solar on the “solar-ready” roofs.
Cor-Ten steel from a ship building yard clads the new structure, which connects via a glass “bridge” to a rebuilt stone farmhouse containing the bedrooms.
Cor-Ten steel from a ship building yard clads the new structure, which connects via a glass “bridge” to a rebuilt stone farmhouse containing the bedrooms.

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