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earth sheltered passive solar designs

design northwest

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our vision

With rising energy costs and a diminishing supply of fossil fuels we are faced with having to reconsider our design principles and methods in the construction of shelter.

Since their inception, structures have been conceived and built as shelter from the elements. For most of history the environment in which it was built dictated the nature of a building’s structure. Climate, locally available materials and rudimentary methods of heating and cooling were the guiding design principles.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and the availability of inexpensive fuels along with the growth of international materials trade these guiding design principles changed. Homes and other structures could be built with little or no concern for the elements. Building materials and fuels for heating and cooling were readily available and inexpensive.

Design Northwest’s vision is to increase the use of earth sheltered passive solar buildings for our homes, offices and retail spaces. We have developed a building system that combines solar energy for heating and lighting with the insulating qualities of the earth to produce an energy efficient, sustainable building that offers greater comfort at reduced operating costs. Because we use standard building materials and methods our passive solar office and home designs can be built at conventional construction costs.

It is no longer appropriate to continue building structures using an outdated paradigm.

Japanese maple tree outside of Design Northwest's earth sheltered passive solar offices.

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