November 28th, 2007
I would like to announce that I am starting a sister web site www.sustainablehouseplans.com. It most likely will be a while before I actually get the site online, but I am starting to shift my time from developing plans for this site, to designing plans for the new site. I would not mention it here, but the day after I registered the site name (yesterday), I needed to give out the new link to ASU, and this is what that link will open for the present time. So, if you linked here from there, sorry, but I’m not really here. However, I do have another site, and please visit that (www.thompsonplans.com)… and keep reading. The new link (sustainablehouseplans.com) will start showing up on a new web site related to a plan I donated to The NC State Energy Office and the Appalachian State University Energy Center. It was built by a Habitat affiliate in Hickory,NC and was the first Zero Energy Home (ZEH) built in North Carolina. My new plans will not necessarily be geared for the affordable housing market, but will maintain an Arts and Crafts feel with nice porches and warm detailing.
My interest has long been designing homes that are connected with the environment. Unfortunately, in the early 1980′s that was not what many of my clients were interested in. Despite my living and working out of a passive solar house that I built in Atlanta, very few clients had any interest in investing funds for solar features. I also loved the Arts and Crafts character, and since that is what my clients wanted, that is what I did. This web site grew out of that work.
Today we live in a different world. Everyday more people are becoming aware of the shortsightedness of using fossil fuels. “Green” is now the buzz word in advertising and marketing new homes. But, for the most part, this just implies product selection, and does not necessarily address the energy consumption issues to any great extent. I am starting the new site by reworking many of the existing house plans I have, and incorporate passive and active solar functionality. My intention for these new plans is to incorporate thermal mass storage as a fundamental heat source, along with room designated for photovoltaic systems. Some will incorporate attached solar greenhouses. All plans will have 2×6 wall construction, as well as other environmentally sound construction details.
If you have linked here from another site through the www.sustainablehouseplans.com link, please look around, and if any of the plans work for you, and you are also interested in solar considerations, email me. The new plans will be specifically oriented to work with the sun.
July 24th, 2007
Photos are now posted for Dianne’s studio.
If anyone has interest in this studio as a stock house plan, let me know. While it does have the flavor of a bungalow or craftsman style house plan, it is a just one room workshop. Much of the detailing was done as I got to that point in the construction, so to make a stock house plan out of it, would require some work since much of the detailing was not drawn out (except on the lumber:) However, this is the most fun to do, so I would like to if the interest is there.
July 12th, 2007
Well, interesting and creative detailing. Not my wording below, not sure of the source.
A city councilman in Utah, Mark Easton, had a beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and built a new home.
The new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance. The new neighbor had to drop the roof line, at great expense.
Recently, Mark Easton called the city, and informed them that his new neighbor had installed some vents on the side of his home. Mark didn’t like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate. When they went to Mark’s home to see the vent view, this is what they found…
June 2nd, 2007
Far from an eternal question, yet a situation threatening the American landscape for generations. The sad reality is some of the ugliest residential architecture of all time is what we have to view as we speed down the interstate. With each house having countless steep gables stacked on top of each other, one can feel they are being accosted by a rip saw blade. I am not a fan of the current state of the housing market, where the majority of homes being built are from the same basic few stock plan ideas. Most stock plans attempt to see how many gables they can “incorporate” into space. They look like a miniature mountain range. Unfortunately (especially for the future generations) the stock plan industry and the internet is facilitating this decline of aesthetics. “Form follows function”, made famous by Louis Sullivan is now “form follows ridges”. So, for the vast majority of stock plans, I say just say no.
Designing a home that that will provide the most for the people living in it, will most likely demand individual planning. Even on a fifty foot wide lot, there are site factors worth considering, not to mention the unique qualities of the people living there. However, we all know that takes many hours to do, and done by someone who knows what do look for, which makes it cost prohibitive for most people. But, that’s the truth.
This opinion is just that. It in no way represents the management or staff of this company.
June 2nd, 2007
Nanosolar is perhaps the most exciting new development on the energy horizon I know of. Silicon-wafer based solar cells have been the basic option for anyone wanting to generate electricity from the sun. Despite many improvements over the last 30 years, they are still expensive and difficult to install, and if aesthetics are a factor, well… forget it. When you are trying to integrate these into an older neighborhood you are most likely asking for a fight.
Nanosolar is a new technology that seems to offer much greater flexibility as well as lower installation cost. With nanosolar tiny solar cells are printed onto flexible materials offering possibilities for new rooftop applications. According to the Nanosolar web site “On June 16, 2004, Nanosolar achieved a historic achievement: the first time that someone managed to simply roll-print the semiconductor of a solar cell that can be as efficient and durable as a conventional crystalline silicon cell.” Imagine if this can be incorporated into everyday roofing materials, which is the suggestion.
Nanosolar says that they can produce these cells for $1.00 per watt, which is one-tenth the cost of traditional silicon solar cells. If so, that is huge, especially combined with greater flexibility for installation. Move over power plants.