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Passive-solar, off-grid.

What You Need to Know


Solar cooling Passive-solar, off-grid home with no mechanical systems. Most major components, including the oak timbers and the masonry, were locally harvested or produced. Leftover boards were recycled into interior walls. Stone was recycled from nearby building ruin. This is a one-bedroom, retirement home designed to be low maintenance and have virtually no monthly bills. A photovoltaic panel powers the well, and a storage tank and gravity provide water pressure at no cost. The roomy, brightly lit interior is a result of using oak timber frame construction with minimal interior walls. Tile and wood floors offer a setting for a highly efficient, massive masonry heater with its own bake oven. Built using local stone and decorated with Mercer tiles, the heater adds its own practical beauty. An orchard, gardens and wood and storage sheds complete the compound. Solar hot water system came in 2009 and the off-grid PV-based 1.2 KW system came in April, 2010. This PV system supplies all our electrical needs.

Other Benefits:

No heating bills other than cutting wood for masonry heater.

Efficiency or Sustainability Improvements:

Rigid Board Polyurethane All walls and roof Daylighting, Energy Star rated, Local Materials, Masonry stove, Passive Solar, Recycled Materials

My Motivation:

Environment, savings in utility bills, personal comfort.


If you have the site, passive solar is only way to go.

Experience with Installer:


Open House Info:

Location: 1394 Greene Hill Court, Kutztown rural. Take Exit 45 (New Smithville) off of I78. Turn south on Route 863, Independent Road. Ascend a hill and start into valley, bearing right onto Sigfrieddale Road before you get into valley. Continue south for less than to a mile. Turn left onto Helffrich Road by wood shop and barn. Greene Hill Court is second right turn. Follow road to end and enter woods via driveway that passes through a red steel gate. Follow driveway to end. Parking by house and along driveway. No pets. Contact prior to visit not essential but will be appreciated.

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