The Bikle Passively Heated and Cooled House, Gardnerville, Nevada (1985)
This 3,500 square foot house, designed by Dr. Aitken, and located at an elevation of 4,720 feet in the Carson Valley 15 miles south of the Nevada State Capitol, Carson City, was developed for clients who wanted natural heating, ventilation and cooling, with no back-up mechanical systems (a wood stove would be OK for winter comfort). This required a very energy efficient envelope, and maximizing the opportunities for winter solar gain, as it occasionally snows at this elevation; it required carefully conditioning the solar gain to suit the living zones and times of use of the rooms; it required careful shading, through-ventilation and night-vent cooling for the summer; and it required significant thermal mass throughout the house to store the energy and stabilize the temperature. The result was four different passive solar-heating systems-direct gain (shown left below), mass storage wall (also shown left below), and two sunspaces (one shown on the right below). Glass doors were put into all side rooms to allow the clients to channel where and when the solar heating would go to the different rooms (also shown on the right below), while letting daylight flood all of the spaces all of the time. A fan in the apex of the rear living room wall delivered the stratified warm air into the rear bedrooms, and helped to destratify the air in the high-ceilinged living room. The floor was solid concrete, covered with terra cotta tiles. All interior walls were solid concrete, attractively plastered over. A whole house fan provided for quick summer evening cool-down whenever the house had to be left closed during the day to keep the heat out. Less than a cord of wood was needed to back up the winter solar heating, and, in the summer, when the outside temperature would reach 100 degrees F, the house would never get over 80 degrees F in the interior. All design comfort and efficiency criteria were met.