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House #
House Style
Size Ft2
Year Built
Earth-bermed & Stick Built
1920 +ca. 800 garage
General Contractor
Sub-contractors (significant) & Type
Howard Cherrington Jeff Brown Pat Norwell, Electric
Marc Robinson, Cabinets
Kominack Bros., Tile
Primary E-Design Factors
Significant E-Products Used
Insulation R-60 Ceiling, R-38 Walls
Wired for PV, but not used
Kitchen counter has south facing
cement wall for solar mass
No west facing windows
“Green house/room”
Interior hall “clerestory”
NA Earth-berming with differential insulation of bermed wall.
House has been comfortable (never >75°F when 105°F outdoors)
The owners wanted a house that would maintain a comfortable temperature, both in winter and summer, and would not require a significant amount of additional energy for heating or cooling. The house is an earth-bermed narrow rectangle, with cement floors (tiled) which serve as solar heating masses. Most rooms where people spend time, lie along the south side of the house to take advantage of passive solar heating in winter, while window shades, and eaves with overhangs designed for this lattitude, block the summer sun; the north side (the bermed side) has a guest bathroom, pantry, storage, etc. A garage, without west facing windows, is located on the west end of the house minimizing late afternoon summer heating. The house has electric baseboards and a wood stove for back-up heating, but use of the baseboards has never been needed. The bermed wall is insulated on the outside with solid foam sheating, which is staggered in thickness from R-30 near the top of the berm, transitions to R-20, and ending with R-12, at the base. An interesting feature, is the tiled cement wall in the kitchen that functions as an additional solar mass, and the back of a kitchen counter. After more than a full year in the house, the owners are very satisfied with the house's performance.

For it's size, this house does a great job of disappearing into the landscape. It is only one story tall with earth berming. When you drive by the mainly flat field it inhabits, you only get glimpses of the home here and there. If others think this way and consider the visual impacts of building, we will not destroy the very beauty we have come to the Methow for.