Passive Solar House Plans - Version 3

By the time that we actually begin building our house we will have explored a variety of passive solar house plans and building materials. This version of our house plan features a cinder block basement that is set into the side of the hill, with a stick frame living space located above. All in all this plan gives us more usable living space in our main permitted structure than previous plans that we have considered.

House Plan Phases

Like previous versions of our passive solar house plans, this home is designed to be built in phases. Once the core of the structure is built, a greenhouse space will be added along the South side to maximize our passive solar capabilities. This design also allows for a porch to be added along the North side and an experimental cold room to the East.

Click here to view our 2 story house plans in PDF format.

House Plans with Electrical Details

During this stage of planning we've also begun to work out the electrical details for our home and have included electrical symbols for lights and outlets in this draft. Fortunately, Patrick has recently worked on a number of electrical projects which have helped him to become familiar with the current code. Though it may look like there are outlets in unnecessary places or there are more than we would need, this is a result of our conformance to the electrical code.

Click here to view our 2 story house plans with electrical details in PDF format.

Plans for Heating with Wood

We've spent plenty of time researching building codes specific to our county and have learned that we can use a wood-stove as our only source of heat in our home. In this version of our house plans we've located our wood-stove in the basement and plan to use passive ventilation to move the warmth to the upstairs living space. We believe that the passive solar qualities of our house will help it to maintain a reasonable temperature in most instances and we will only have to use our wood-stove for backup. Regardless, we will be extremely happy to stop heating our living space with propane.

Construction Notes:

  • All dimensions are written: W x H.
  • Foundation: 18"x18" 3000 psi reinforced concrete.
  • Basement: 16"x8"x8" cynder blocks, 11 courses w/ concrete slab floor.
  • Exterior Walls: 2"x6" - 16" O.C. frame, R30 insulation, & Stucco exterior.
  • Interior Walls: 1/2" sheet rock.
  • Floor: 2"x10" - 12" O.C. w/ 3/4" plywood subfloor. Finish to be determined.
  • Roof: 0.75"/12" fall - 16" O.C., R50 insulation, plywood, & tar shingles.
  • All windows & exterior doors to be EnergyStar rated.

Clerestory Windows

Last month we began new construction on a passive solar greenhouse, which has given us the opportunity to experiment with some of our design ideas. The south facing clerestory windows that we installed in the greenhouse provide a really lovely light for the north side of the structure and we have decided to incorporate a clerestory into our home as well. Though previous versions of our plan include a flat roof, in order to include a clerestory the roof will need to be pitched.

Having Our House Plans Drafted

In order to get the permits for a structure with a basement we discovered that we need to have an engineer sign off on our house plans. We've made arrangements to have our plans officially drawn up by a local draftsman before we hire an engineer.

More House Plans?

We are very excited about building our passive solar home and are very anxious to get our construction permits! However as we build our passive solar greenhouse we are learning a lot, especially about how much it costs and how long it takes to build. Even as we move forward with our two story house plans we are considering yet another version, which is much more modest in size. We are closing in on the final solution and will be applying for permits soon. Once we do, we'll be sure to share the final version of our passive solar house plans on

Passive Solar Books

International Building Code

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