Environmentally Responsive Building Design
Using only sunlight as fuel, photovoltaics
(PV) provided highly reliable, pollution-free power. PV power is used
for space exploration and in the early 1970's researchers were just beginning
to consider how to apply this revolutionary technology here on earth.
SDA immediately explored the use of PV to power buildings and, in 1978,
the firm designed the country's first utility-interactive PV system
for a solar-powered high-rise building near Boston.
In 1979, the developer of a condominium
village near popular ski resorts in New Hampshire's Mt Washington Valley
wanted to bring an environmentally responsive alternative to the market.
SDA created a design that incorporates active and passive solar with energy-efficient
construction and requires a minimum of purchased energy to operate. The
generous south-facing glass looks out over a breathtaking view of the White
Mountain National Forest and creates a beautiful leisure home while remaining
energy conscious. Buyers responded very positively and SDA has since designed
another solar-powered village for this same client.
In 1980, working under contract for the
US Department of Energy (DOE), SDA developed the first building-integrated
PV system and constructed a prototype residential roof for evaluation by
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later that same year, MIT commissioned
SDA to design and engineer a 3,200 sq. ft. energy-efficient, passive solar
residence powered by PV.
The 'Carlisle House', as it became known, features passive solar heating
and cooling, super-insulation, internal thermal mass, earth-sheltering,
daylighting, a roof-integrated solar thermal system and a 7.5 kilowatt-peak
(kWp) PV array. The Carlisle house is the first residence ever to be powered
by a utility-interactive PV system. It needs no fossil fuel and exports
surplus power to the utility.
Following on the success of their early efforts, SDA began to receive commissions
from private clients for environmentally responsive residences powered by
IMPACT 2000 House
In 1983, Boston Edison commissioned SDA
to design and construct the PV-powered `Impact 2000' House in Brookline,
MA. as a demonstration of future trends in environmentally responsive residential
The house, which incorporates roof-integrated solar electric and solar thermal
systems, was the subject of a national TV series on PBS viewed by an audience
of over 9 million. Other features include a central, two-story sunspace,
passive solar heating and cooling, earth sheltering, super insulation, heat-recovery
ventilation and an earth-coupled, geothermal heat pump. After completion,
the home was a showplace for educational tours on renewable energy and sustainable
design before being sold to a private couple who are the present owners.
2002 Solar Design Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 242, Harvard Massachusetts 01451-0242
Phone: (978) 456-6855 Email: