The challenge of designing a truly beautiful passive solar greenhouse capable of housing tropical plants is a challenge to our knowledge never successfully accomplished before and that we are pleased to post on Arcbazar.
We want to build a little tropical wonderland of about 1,200 sq ft., mostly occupied by fruit-producing trees and tropical flowers. We imagine hanging lanterns inside. We want a water feature, probably with a waterfall to help maintain humidity. We also want to have a hot tub inside, and space for an office desk. Last, we want enough space inside to have as many as a dozen people to do yoga. This may be accomplished by having movable planters that can be temporarily pushed out of the way. We are willing to increase the overall size of the greenhouse if necessary to incorporate all the desired elements without feeling cramped.
From the research we have done there are two main designs for passive solar greenhouses. Leading examples are:
The greenhouse water feature may be integrated as part of a climate battery, so long as it doesn?t get so hot that it kills the life in it. The greenhouse may integrate a ground-to-air heat transfer (GAHT) system to manage excess summer heat, though condensation within the GAHT will probably have to be resolved. In general elegant and clever ways to manage excess summer heat are welcome.
We are building on the site of a house burned down in a forest fire, so it is best if the structure is fire resistant.
If there is an elegant way to integrate one or two guestrooms (external to the greenhouse space), we?d be delighted, but would not want that at the expense of the greenhouse?s elegance.
The greenhouse site will be on a fairly steep south-facing hill, and per permaculture principles, as close to the house as is convenient. Please see attached site plan diagram (the greenhouse is likely to be on the west side of the area marked for it). Structure must be set back 25? from property line.
Build site diagram: http://goo.gl/IxixLK
Google Earth link to site: https://goo.gl/maps/pR1qT
Google earth visualization of approximate (very approximate) topography: http://goo.gl/lzEyoX
This greenhouse is part of a larger project on Arcbazar for our home, called ?Rocky Mountain Oasis?. We want visual consistency between the greenhouse and the house, though we believe a truly outstanding greenhouse design will integrate with the house design even if the aesthetic is different, and can easily imagine a spectacular greenhouse that looks very different from the main home but doesn't clash with it. The greenhouse design period is eight weeks vs. four for the house so that if designers want to refer to the winning house design they are able to.
The budget is flexible; we want to build something extraordinary.