Energy independence is possible when the entire surface area of a roof is used to harvest the sun's energy. It's true that practical solar home designs may seem like a radical departure from the traditional look, but I do expect this type of dwelling to become more popular in coming years.

This three story solar home gets all it's energy from the sun. Photovoltaic panels, not shown, would be mounted on the shed roof to supply electricity, and a built in solar thermal roof on the front  supplies all the needed heat. This house uses the entire surface area of the roof to harvest the sun's energy. Why shouldn't we use our roofs to harvest free energy? What else are we using them for?
An additional, unexpected benefit of this house style is a third floor that would normally be wasted attic space, and a large solar greenhouse on the the front. Side windows are not shown. I'm leaving this up to your imagination.

A cross sectional view should give you an idea of the internal space available. Notice the heat storage vault under the solar greenhouse. There is no need to waste valuable basement space with this large storage vault that may be accessed from the floor of the greenhouse. 
A futuristic possibility of a design like this has to do with the hybrid potential of a  solar thermal engine working in conjunction with the solar heating system.

Last but not least we have this 2,400 square foot energy independent solar home. The 10 PV panels on the south side of the house should satisfy most of the power requirements and the additional space on the shed roof could be used if additional PV panels are required.. The south facing solar greenhouse supplements the heating requirements as well as furnishes a year round source of fresh vegetables. HOWEVER the bulk of the heating and hot water requirements are met with an array of  eighteen 2'x12' MTD collectors with a surface area of 432 square feet. The second floor deck on the north side of the house provides a cool retreat on a hot summer day.




Strawberry Fields Solar Book Store
How to Build a Solar Hot Water System

Solar Collector Plans 
Energy Independent Housing 
Solar Thermal Energy Show
Alternative Housing for the 21st Century 
 Active Solar    Passive Solar  
 Greenhouse Effect and the Solar Greenhouse  
Solar Energy the Alternative Energy of Choice

Heat Storage Vaults
Gallery of Solar Homes
Photovoltaic Electricity Animation
  Solar Water Heating Animation  
Our Sun and Our Future

Five Solar Thermal Principles


Solar Heating



When the Lights go Out    Sun Dancing With Robert Redford    Earth Bound Leonardo    Bonnie Raitt, the Sunshine Lady