earth sheltered passive solar designs

design northwest



We provide a wide range of design services, from flexible stock plans to custom designs and other related architectural services. We are available to provide full services or act on a consultation basis in the following areas.

Site Selection and Feasibility Studies

During our many years of operation we have helped clients select sites and conducted feasibility studies for those sites. This work has included single family, multiple family and commercial projects. The site and feasibility studies are a broad review of the many elements involved in the initial project development. These elements include site analysis, zoning limitations, code review and other matters pertinent to the viability of the proposed project. Based on these studies, the client is provided with the data to make informed decisions regarding the proposed project.

Site Planning and Development

Once the project site has been selected, Design Northwest prepares preliminary site plans, based upon our client’s directions and code requirements. When necessary, we work closely with civil, geo-tech, sewage disposal and other engineers to insure proper site layout and compliance with all governing municipalities and the most cost effective solutions.

On occasion a proposed project will require rezoning or the issuance of a variance or a conditional use permit. Design Northwest has had a very high degree of success in obtaining these zoning changes for its clients.

Custom Building Design

Design Northwest considers the program development phase of the design process to be critical. During this phase of the work we learn as much as possible about what the client wants both spatially and stylistically. Our design mission is to understand and subsequently present solutions that meet the client’s vision. As a result, our work spans the stylistic spectrum from the classic Irish Cottage to the glass and steel utilitarian look of the Bauhaus style.

Given our extensive experience with actual construction work, during the preliminary design phase we are already considering the structural scheme for the building. Once the design is completed we prepare working drawings that become the “set of building instructions” for the general contractor and are used to obtain all building permits.

Design Northwest can provide product and performance specifications from our extensive library when needed or when a project is to be submitted for competitive bidding. Additionally, we can provide documentation for bid submittals and have considerable experience supervising the formal bid process.

Custom Modular Plans

Design Northwest is developing modular plans and construction details for several models of earth sheltered passive solar homes. Because these buildings have no interior load bearing walls they can be readily customized to meet the client’s interior spatial design needs.

Construction Administration and Supervision

Design Northwest has been administering and supervising the construction phase of our design projects since 1976. Providing this service on site for a given project depends upon location and need. There are many tools at our disposal however, to insure top quality construction even when distance from the project does not allow frequent site visits.

Permit Acquisition

Usually the owner or general contractor is responsible for the building permit application. Frequently the permitting agencies have questions or require additional documentation. Design Northwest is available and responsive during the permitting process, helping to solve any matters that might arise. Design Northwest has worked with many different municipalities without having encountered permitting problems that prevent the construction of a project.

Free Initial Consultation

We provide free initial one to two hour consultations for all our prospective clients. Many, if not all aspects of the project will be discussed during this conference. It is our experience from conducting these consultations as well as designing custom projects at a distance, that the inability to physically sit in the same conference room is easily overcome with electronic document sharing and communication.


sun energy solutions


Copyright 2012, Design Northwest, All Rights Reserved | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy