We're Back!

Finally!! . . . After about 12 months of being buried in work, we will now pick up from where we last left you in the construction process of Solterra. We are actually much further along than the progress pics show, but we wanted to maintain the continuity of construction for those of you following along and wanting to know all the details. Leah and I apologize for the huge delay in updating. We moved in April 15, 2005 (with the inside not finished at all) and have completed a HUGE amount of work since then. You will see that in future updates. But for now, check out the progress pics!

(click the photos above for a larger view)

** L A T E S T **

Farmland News Article --Click to Enlarge
Toledo Blade Article --Click to Enlarge


We have moved into Solterra and continue to work on the inside jobs.  They take a LOT of time! We are progressing however, albeit a little slower. . . it has now been over 4 years since Leah and I have started building Solterra, and we hope to be completed in about another year.
Thank you for your enduring patience.

7-7-2004 Update!
It's been over 3 months and a huge amount of work has been done despite the fact that since April 1, over 2/3 of all days have been rain! Unbelievable, and extremely frustrating! The weather seems to be turning normal now and we're trying to catch up from lost time. We can now add "working in the rain" to our list of experiences. See our Progress Pics for the latest in our ongoing construction. Everything continues to work out exactly as designed.

Packet of product brochures and specification sheets of materials and suppliers used in the creation of SOLTERRA. See the LINKS page for details.

Ralph and Leah are mentioned as the only residential recipient in NW Ohio to receive a state grant in an article by The Blade dated Wednesday, September 17, 2003. Check the front page of the second section.

Solterra will be featured in an article for the October issue of Ohio Magazine.

Ralph and Leah Semrock were just notified that they received a grant from the OHIO DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT, Office of Energy Efficiency, for SOLTERRA, in the amount of $25,000! The grant was made because the house is very unique in its use of alternate fuels and promotes technologies that can be incorporated in any new or existing home. Since our proposal is funded as a demonstration site, the OEE will be developing a case study of Solterra. We are very excited that our proposal was accepted and look forward to working with the OEE.


Whenever your needs arise, please contact our contributing sponsors and companies dedicated to the completion of Solterra. Collectively, they have donated supplies, labor, and equipment valued at over $69,500 to date. We are immensely grateful for their generosity and their commitment to us and ask that you kindly refer to Solterra when inquiring about products and/or services offered by those who have helped make our dream a reality:

Archon Engineering, Inc. Rob Smart PE (See Links page)

HoldFast Technologies (See Links page)

Loewen Windows (See Links page)

L Hartley Inc. (See Links page)

ESP Inc. (Envionmentally Safe Products (See Links page)

Holman Aqua Drilling (See Links page)

Franklin Electric

WaterRight Softeners

Seaway Scaffolding (See Links page)

White Cap Construction Supply (See Links page)


Gross Electric
(See Links page)

Extol of Ohio, Inc (See Links

Lake Roofing
(See Links page)

Radiant Floor
(See Links page)

Royston Labs

Howard Lawn
& Landscaping
Service, LLC
(See Links page)

Tinman Heating
& Cooling, Inc.
(See Links page)

Hearth & Home
(See Links page)

(HRS System)
(See Links page)

Reddi-Set-Home (See Links page)

Unlimited (See
Links page)

Carpets by Otto
(See Links page)

Seamless Gutter
LLC (See Links

Certified Tile
& Flooring (See
Links page)

Family Choice Painting, Rob Hughes (See Links page)

Jeff Rollins Drywall (See Links page)

UBC Building Supplies

Carter Lumber

84 Lumber

The Anderson's

CoraVent (See Links page)

GKG Builders, Keith McCullough (See Links page)

Bob Perry, Mason (See Links page)

Hite Pumping (See Links page)

Artek Construction, Wade Johnson

Samsen Furniture, Doug Samsen (See Links page)

Design Tanks, Inc. (See Links page)

Tri County Block & Brick (See Links page)


Official Solterra Emblem
The name SOLTERRA means the sun "Sol" and the earth "Terra". Like our subtitle says, it's where "The Sun Greets the Earth". The logo to the left is actually a design that Leah came up with (she's the graphic artist in our duo). It means so much to us that our wedding rings were specially cast in the shape of the emblem. The trapezoid sections at the left represent the earth, the circular shape to their right, the sun. The rays of the sun form a "W", which stands for our Inner Wisdom, Who continually guides each of us in all areas of our lives, including the construction of our unique home. Finally, the stars to the right signify us meeting on the vastness of the internet. This design became the logo of our dream house, an earth-sheltered, passive solar home with 5 alternate energy sources. There isn't a house like it in the whole country, and one which has taken 23 years to research, plan, and now finally, build. Find out a little more about us below.


Ralph and Leah Semrock

It started with an idea, then it became a dream, and now after 23 years, Solterra has begun. Over the years, building materials and technologies have improved, the house plans have gone through four evolutionary changes, and both of us have had some pretty fair sized life changing experiences. All of these things make each part of this experience special.

Join us in the journey.

Here are more members of our family, the 2 rottweilers, Cary, and Skip, who already reside on the property in our existing 21 x 42 steel building which is 1/3 kennel and 2/3 art studio. (Leah's dream come true and home away from home much of the time now.) Can't wait until the house is done so that they can become housedogs!

Mitchell on the left is our grey cat who is very friendly and will go up to anyone. Tommy is on the right and has an extra toe on each front paw. He's affectionately known as "Tommy two thumbs".

PJ (Purrs Junior) is our loverboy and is the most laid back cat you ever saw. You pick him up and he becomes a limp, relaxed doll. He's a cutie.

That's our family. Now go on to page two and see our Design Plans.