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Summer and winter, it makes solar sense.

A solar-logical design helps this house respond to the heat and cold of California's Central Valley. For cooling, it uses shading devices, natural air movement, and the mass of its concrete slab. In the colder months, the house is heated by direct solar gain, a solar-powered radiant slab heating system, and a heat-circulating fireplace.

Visually, the most dramatic elements of the design are the 52-foot-long lap pool (one of it sside walls uses an extra-deep house foundation) and a translucent second roof. The corrugated fiberglass shades the actual, flat roof of the house and creates a spacious outdoor room with long, open windows. (In winter, the openings can be sealed with fiberglass panels to create a tempering sheltered area.)

A 200-square-foot solar panel angles outward to shade the living room windows in summer and face the lower winter sun. On summer nights, it radiates heat outdoors that it collected from the water circulating in the slab in the living spaces. The opposite happens in the winter: water circulates in the panel during the day, stores in a 300-gallon tank (which also preheats domestic hot water), and circulates in pipes to heat the slab.

Architect Richard Berteaux, of the Department of Environmental Design at UC Davis, designed the house for his family.
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Date:Sep 1, 1984
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