Hopper Design, LLC


Toward Healthy and Sustainable Homes

Designs - Solar Cabin 26x36

3 bedrooms, 3 bathroom

 Download plans: $175.00

Cabin footprint 26' x 36' (total 1445 square feet)
First floor is 920 square feet and the second floor is 525 square feet.

This Solar Cabin has its entrance at the east corner. There are three bedrooms with the master bedroom on the first floor. There are two bedrooms on the second floor: a combined home office/bedroom and a bunk bedroom/study. The first floor bathroom is accessible from the master bedroom as well from the living space. Each of the second floor bedrooms has a small bathroom with skylight and shower.

This south-facing cabin is the largest in our set of cabins. It is set into the land with earth berming providing a friendly human scale. It is compactly designed for efficient use of space and is economical to build, substantially lowering construction costs. These features allow reduction of non-renewable energy needs, making it possible to achieve net zero energy usage. This cabin provides all essential living needs conveniently on the first floor, making it suitable for folks of all ages. While it is compact in plan, it looks and feels spacious and friendly.

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View of south and west elevations at 1 p.m. on October 21.

The south facade has substantial glazing to allow passive solar gain in winter. It can be seen in the animation below that solar energy enters the south windows of the house on the shortest days of the year in winter, and that progressively the windows become more shaded. In summer the windows are substantially shaded, eliminating unwanted solar gain. We place active solar thermal and solar electric systems on the south roof. These systems can be added at a later date.

The living room is open above to the roof with a high ceiling. This area feels and appears spacious. The kitchen is highly functional and faces east for morning light. It is set off by the stair and has a shelving storage wall on the west side. The kitchen is directly accessible from the entrance and is open to dining.

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Solar Cabin first floor plan showing entries, kitchen, dining, living, master bedroom, bathroom, closets, stairway, storage, and utility.

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Solar Cabin second floor plan showing bunk bedroom/study, home office/bedroom, closets, bathrooms, bridge, and stairway. The first floor is in view below.

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Entrance view from northeast.

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Site Plan with drive entries possible from northwest through east to southwest.

Active solar design

The roof of the Solar Cabin can support a variety of active solar systems. This scheme has solar thermal panels for hot water and photovoltaics for electricity.

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View of the south and east elevation with a 5.3 kWh photovoltaic array made up of 25 panels and three thermal collectors for the production of solar heated water for domestic use.

More images

Interior views stretched to include items of interest.
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View looking southeast through living to dining. The second floor bridge provides access to the west bedroom. An optional wood stove can provide supplemental heating in winter.

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View to north of living, dining, kitchen, with entry beyond. The west storage wall of shelving can be seen in the kitchen next to the stair.

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View looking northeast toward living, dining, and kitchen. The open space in front of the bridge allows passive solar heated air to rise up to the ceiling, descend along the roof to the north wall, drop back to the floor, and return to be heated again in a continuous loop.

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View to north of master bedroom with entry to walk-in closet and bathroom.

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View to south of bunk bedroom/study.

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View to south of home office/bedroom.

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View of Solar Cabin on June 21 at 11 a.m., summer solstice. Note how well the south windows are shaded from excess solar energy.

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View of Solar Cabin on December 21 at 11 a.m., winter solstice. Note how well the south windows allow passive solar energy deep into the home.