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Home > Selected Projects > Passive Solar Greenhouse

Passive Solar Greenhouse


Dana Hill Farm

Waitsfield, VT


This project called for creating a greenhouse attached to the south side of a house that would provide auxiliary heat and a buffer to cold for the main house structure.


A raised terrace was chosen to address attachment to adjacent ledge, access to mezannine level of house, protection from snow loads, and for extensive thermal mass creation within body of structure.


Thermal mass was created as a seasonal battery with 1- ½ ” and  ¾”- washed stone on top of two inches of foam at ground level. This left 24 cu yds of mass or 72,000 lbs which were then topped with a layer of stonedust, radiant tubing, another layer of stone dust and then the stone pavers.


Greenhouse glulam rafter kit construction allowed for quick placement of shell and glazing.


Temperatures within the greenhouse fluctuate to between 38 and 30 degrees on the coldest days, with outside temperatures to neg. 35. Warm and sunny days offer temperatures easily in the 50’s and 60’s. The sliding glass doors into the greenhouse are left open to offer ventilation and extra heat during February and March.



Stone pavers stonedust and crushed stone make up a significant thermal mass battery from which the greenhouse derives heat from during the fall and early winter.



Stone veneered cinder block allowed for additional outside mass which melts snow early and offers microclimate gardening in planter bed.



Attachment to existing ledge provided design challenge and offered additional thermal mass to the outside of the building.



Windows and doors are used for ventilation during the summer months.



A stone patio adds significant thermal mass and buffers outside temperatures around greenhouse.



The finished product ready for use.

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