SOLTERRA Looking Northwest

Solterra was designed completely with CADKEY, a very versatile and easy to use CAD software program. The model is done totally in 3D CADKEY Solids with R19 so that positions of all architectural components can be checked for dimensional accuracy and clearances from each other. The model provides many visual and exciting images that subcontractors, companies, and material suppliers can readily understand and relate to. Since I teach CAD at a local community college, it was very natural for me to do the entire plans myself with CADKEY.

The image above shows a rendering of Solterra. One main requirement of design was to be energy independent at least a portion of the year. To accomplish that, we've utilized the following:

1. Super insulated the home with Nudura ICF walls and Insul-Deck ICF ceiling along with a radiant barrier on all external surfaces to cut heat loss and gain.

2. Included a 1.5 KW wind turbine that feeds power back to Toledo Edison on a 64 ft. tilt tower.

3. Mounted a 2.8 KW Photovoltaic (solar cell) array on the 15 pitch of the 2nd story roof trusses, which also feeds power back to Toledo Edison.

4. Mounted 5 Sunearth "Empire" collectors with black chrome absorbers on the 56 pitch of the trusses to generate thermal heat to be stored in a 440 gal FG insulated storage tank from which DHW and heat for the radiant floors will be exchanged.

5. Included a geothermal Water Furnace will provide A/C in the summer and become a double backup for heat.

6. Used passive solar input through glass areas on the south and east with overhangs to block out the sun during the summer months.

7. Built in a Trombe wall for passive solar collection and radiation throughout the nighttime hours.

Another of the goals for the home was to have little or no maintenance. Groundcover and plants will cover the sloping berms and earth covered roof. Designs of a radiant sun and moon all will be done with plants.

The rendering at right shows the earth berm wrapping around to the north retaining wall. The conventional garage roof can be seen as well as the Timbertech deck walkway from the Attic/Loft area to the observatory dome. (Ralph is an amateur astronomer)

SOLTERRA Looking Southwest

More Design Images Shown Below
(click on image to enlarge)