3D modeling allows us to explore new energy efficiency concepts coupled with renewable resources such as solar and wind. This ranch house concept utilizes a basement extended out to a lower level of ground where the basement becomes a green house. The green house is seen in the lower part of the wall, this view is the back of the property. The geo thermal mass of the basement allows the green house to remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter since the thermal mass of the ground provides some overnight heat which is higher than the exterior winter temperature. In the summer the geo thermal mass is cooler than the exterior and hence adsorbs the solar radiant energy entering the glass. Active solar heating panels are seen in the design as well as lots of solar PV panels and small wind turbines. In a close up of the 3D model you will also find a wood gas generator located inside the solar electrical house building in the back of the property, this building acts as a work shop and battery storage area.

The other thing about this design is how the land is laid out where in a space of about 372 x 246 feet we have maximized the use of the land, which includes a garden, and dog kennels. Other features likewise are located on the landscape to make the most of this small plot of land."

Enlarge this photo and enjoy the view.

You can view the 3D model at this link:

Front view.

Tags: Green_built_ranch_house, ranch_house

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Sometime here I will want to address a means to utilize a sort of passive kind of geo thermal energy for use to deal with some heat gain loads within a home, you might have heard of "earth tubes" which have been used since the late 1970's to precondition exterior air with geo thermal heat energy by running the intake air through clay or PVC tubes in the ground.  Which can also be used in the summer to pre-cool the air intake.  A revisioning of the home basement walls can provide us with the same kind of idea where we can utilize the cool geo thermal mass of the basement walls to remove heat gain from home appliances such as the heat exhaust from our kitchen refrigerator and freezer and some of the kitchen stove heat, thus removing this heat from the air conditioner load. The means is simple and I am looking at removing as much as 7000 Btu of heat over an hour, however as time goes by the amount of heat per hour that can be removed will diminish as the basement wall begins to warm up, yet over night as the home cools we can again return to using the system to began again to remove 7000 Btu per hour.  A low energy heat recovery ventilator is required for this scheme.  Please keep in mind however that it will take allot of heat to raise the temperature of the basement wall by just 1 degree F.  Likewise the concept of Btu per pound in terms of the thermal mass of the wall which happens to be coupled with the vast thermal mass of the earth that surrounds it, means that this concept is fairly efficient and reliable, where our cold energy to attract heat using the laws of thermodynamics is renewable energy of the geo thermal kind.  What I am hence referring to is a built in form of renewable energy much like we would build in solar heating with south facing windows and active (fan powered) solar space heating panels.  In this way we can build homes with two kinds of renewable energy built in rather than one kind.

You can see a 3D model of this concept using this link, if the model does not load into the page you can download it and open it up in SketchUp Make:


SketchUp Make which is the freeware version:


3d modeling has a lot to offer but has a way to go when it comes to its higher potential.

Imagine for a moment the 3d model organizes the framing data to print a 2d template of how to construct the building?  That template would bridge the gap between technology and site-built environment.  The template would be used onsite for productivity gains and be printed on a soft-pliable gasket that in-turn, air seals the wall insulation cavity. Labor issue solved and energy performance advanced in one pass. 

My view is that the most powerful technology comes to a screeching halt when pressing the print button for d-size paper plot.

Micheal Schettine thats a good idea, I can see that.  And perhaps a few more similar applications spinning off from it.  I definitely think you should push the idea to those who open source software to make this possible, or someone here in this forum might know what to do with this.  I think this would come along in the future, I can see it happening for sure.  A software plugin would work I suppose for something like Trimble SketchUp.

Hello Dannie:

We know the air-sealing works extremely well, qualified by two top US labs. and New York State Energy Agency to reduce air intrusion in walls by over 80%.        www.accuframe.com

We know from stringent time/motion studies productivity gains are between 17-21% labor.

We know the technology is available.

We need a data "handshake" to print the output...

Open source is an interesting avenue to consider. 

Welcome input from many on the subject.


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