Passive Solar Construction


The advantage of using passive solar techniques on this project was to maximize the solar heating potential for these buildings (which currently do not have any heating) and also to create a pleasant, well-lit working environment.

The building to the right was a preexisting pole barn on the farm.  While it was being used for weaving, it was dark and cold in the winter and hot in the summer.  To improve the workspace, we added the sawtooth-shaped pods on the south face of the building.  The pods face exactly solar south and open up the space to give the whole building a different feel.


After the success of adding the passive solar pods, Margaret asked us to work with her to create the above building which she calls "the Temple of Yarn."  We infrequently work on projects where we construct buildings from the ground up, but this was an exception which we were happy to make.  We colaborated with Bill Howard Construction, whose expertise in steel buildings was invaluable. This building was constructed to have one wall facing exactly toward the solar south (which is a few degrees off of magnetic south) to maximize the exposure to the sun in winter.  It is a pretty basic pole barn and, in order to keep costs down, the large windows are actually the type of glass that one would use for doors. 

Passive solar "pod" additions on an existing building

Margaret's stone farmhouse

Homegrown wool

Bill Howard's crew, working on framing 

The completed passive solar building

Green Tree Weaving

Near Yellow Springs, Ohio

Over the past few years, we have had the pleasure of working with Margaret Fischer of Green Tree Weaving to adapt her historic farm to the unique needs of her business.  Green Tree Weaving fabricates garments on historic-style looms.  She creates beautiful fabrics which are inspired by natural themes and made of cotton, silk and even the wool from her own sheep.

Our work on Margaret's property began with her historic, stone farmhouse but has since expanded to include several buildings on the property. 

We worked with Margaret to adapt an existing building with passive solar and also worked with a contractor to construct a new building using passive solar.

Abundant light makes for a pleasant environment for weaving in "the temple of yarn"