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Phil's Other Stuff

My Mission:

Every project should have a mission.  When it comes to building a house, that mission may just be to provide a roof over your head.  In my case I have somewhat more lofty goals.  My "mission statement" is listed below in the green box.  

"My home must be comfortable,
but that comfort must be easily sustained."

To me this means that the temperature, humidity, lighting and space should be optimal for a relaxed lifestyle of work and play.  BUT, I don't want to be continually expending piles of money and resources just to keep it that way.  I guess I'm looking for a passive-sustainable sort of comfort that can be achieved by smart design.  I want to take advantage of design concepts and components that make efficient use of energy, space and materials.  I don't mind paying extra up-front in order to save time, money and resources in the long-term.

I'm also not looking for a Mansion to impress guests and neighbors.  Most of these traditional monster homes have a real "WOW" impact when you first step into them, but to me they seem to be totally impractical for a dozen reasons (as if practicality was never really a consideration). 

 I do have some friends that I really want to be impressed with my home, but not because it's BIG or TALL, or appointed with expensive luxuries.

As I develop my home plans,  I expect the design to undergo many drastic direction changes as I grapple with a whole range of environmental, ecological, practical and financial considerations in an attempt to satisfy my mission.   Since my home design will be constantly evolving, I've decided to show the entire evolution on this website, even if I end up discarding a concept along the way.  I think with any design process, what you discard is just as important as what you keep.  

My initial research covered several key elements of sustainable home design.  I have grouped my findings into discrete concepts I've called Earth, Sun & Water.  The thing I found most interesting was that each author seemed to have their particular "green" focus, and never really integrated their concepts with other authors concepts.  My initial review follows similar lines in the Earth, Sun and Water pages, but my Hybrid page shown my own attempt to do some "System Engineering" on these individual concepts to form a more integrated system 

We'll see if it works out, or whether I just confuse everyone.

EARTH   Investigating the whole "Earth Covered House" concept.
Read: "The Earth-Sheltered House: an Architect's sketchbook." by Malcolm Wells
SUN   More "traditional" Passive Solar design thinking
Read: "The Passive Solar House: Using Solar Design to Heat & Cool Your Home." by James Kachadorian's
WATER  Geo-Thermal Exchange as form of cheap heating and cooling.
HYBRID   Taking the best of all concepts and forming a Hybrid System.

Follow on to my Room Guide page to see what specific space needs I had to deal with.

© 2000-2018, Phil and Lisa's relaxed lifestyle home.
An exercise in Energy Smart, Not So Big living. -


This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.