Solargon: conservation of energy through intelligent design and utilization of super efficient building components to create very green cabins and homes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Solargon - Super Insulated Homes

Stewart residence with super insulated Solargon addition. Longmont, Co.

Advantages of Super Insulated Homes:
  • They conserve energy without impacting the occupants’ lifestyle.
  • They are more comfortable, with no drafts, cold spots, or temperature stratification.
  • They are healthier because air quality is not left to chance but is controlled and can be monitored.
  • There is commonly a higher relative humidity. People who are bothered by dry house air in the winter will be more comfortable.
  • They are safer because backdrafting of combustion appliances is impossible.
  • They are quieter to outside noise because of thicker walls and better windows.
  • They save money, frequently 75% of heating and cooling costs.
  • They are more durable because of the quality of the materials used, the care in construction, and because of applied building science principles.
  • They are environmentally friendly, helping to build a sustainable future.
 What does all this cost? Super insulated construction typically costs about 5-7% extra compared with conventional construction. Most of this cost is associated with better windows and doors, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, superior insulation R- value, and air sealing. A premium is almost always paid for quality, whether the product is an automobile, a consumer product, or your home. In the long run quality pays. A super insulated Solargon home will realize big savings on energy costs for the life of the home.

Source: Green Econometrics research
Figure 2 demonstrates that heating cost per square foot for good insulation saves approximately $2.90 per square foot in comparison to no-insulation at all. If we compare the heating costs savings to the cost of insulation, the payback period for insulation can be achieved in a year under most circumstances.

Note: Figures based on 1" polyurethane foam.(R-7.6) Solargon 30's use 5.5" ( R-42) of polyurethane foam. Costs and savings will be proportionally more.

 Super insulated building is now a force in the marketplace. Super insulated building practices are included in Canadian building codes and are standard practice in many parts of Europe. Changes to the Model Energy Code have been implemented by the US Department of Energy and US Department of Housing and Urban Development in this country. Monetary incentives, such as Energy Rated Mortgage which increase the borrowing power of buyers of energy efficient homes, are in place at banks right now. Programs like the Energy Star Homes Program, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, encourage builders to build Superinsulated homes and provide a rating system to evaluate energy performance.
  Consumers interested in healthy indoor environments, decreased energy costs, environmental friendly lifestyles, and quality in their homes can insure that super insulated building becomes standard practice in the US.

Write us at for information about a Solargon home.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Decks

It has been a warm winter so far and this has allowed us to pour concrete piers which receive the 6x6 deck posts which support the trellis over the new decks.

                                                       See web album
Write me with questions.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Borowski Solargon 30-10

Longs Peak 14,259 ft. above sea level, is one of the most prominent mountains in Colorado, rising 7,000 feet above the town of Estes Park to the northeast, and 9,000 feet above the town of Lyons Colorado to the east.

This Solargon 30 with 10 ft. walls is being finished by the owner complete with decks,a loft and a low maintenance metal roof-perfect for the Rocky Mountains.With Estes Park just 4 miles away this Solargon cabin makes the perfect energy efficient mountain getaway. See More  Feel free to write me for more information at

Friday, January 13, 2012

Vintage Octagon Homes

The Zelotes Holmes House in Laurens, South Carolina, was built from 1859-1862, using the "gravel wall construction" (poured concrete) advocated in Fowler's book. The house is unusually large with each outside wall measuring 21 feet. The pink granite foundation supports the "gravel walls" of slaked lime, sand and stone, 18 " thick in the cellar and tapering to 12" at the roof. The exterior is finished in tan colored smooth stucco, scored to imitate stone. The house features 14 octagonal chimneys, three original porches and a cellar with dirt floor under the entire house.
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-- Photo for the Historic American Building Survey, James Boucher, 1986

Contact us for more info about an ultra efficient Solargon home, cabin or addition.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stewart Solargon

The roofing for the Stewart job is now complete and the heating sytem is installed. Because of the winter weather the Stewarts will wait till spring to match the brick and stucco of the existing house.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"ODESA Criteria"

Solargon as featured in Urgent Architecture

  SIPs and Solargon use the best insulation available: high R-value, injected, rigid, closed-cell polyurethane. It serves to totally eliminate four of the six mechanisms of heat transfer (convection, air intrusion, air infiltration, and moisture accumulation), and significantly reduces the other two (conduction and radiation). Each of these is detailed in our brief article “Mechanisms of Heat Transfer.”
In the wintertime, we want to trap heat indoors and reduce heat loss.
In the summertime, we want to trap cool air and reduce heat gain.
Fortunately, insulation works both ways: to reduce heat gain, or to reduce heat loss.
In a climate such as Arizona, radiant heat from the sun is a significant factor. Radiant heat can be reduced with three methods: shading, reflection, and multiple barriers. Polyurethane has a cellular structure that provides hundreds of thousands of barriers to diminish radiant heat.
In addition, the ambient air temperature in Arizona in the summertime is quite high, day and night. Ambient heat is transferred indoors via conduction, convection, air intrusion, and air infiltration. Polyurethane, with its very high R-value, significantly reduced conduction. The closed-cell foam totally eliminates convection, air intrusion, and air infiltration.
Other forms of insulation, such as fiber-glass, cellulose, Icynene, and blue-jean material, have half the R-value, allow air-flow, and do not eliminate any of the six mechanisms of heat transfer.
Another significant factor in reducing heat transfer is the amount of area of the building that is exposed to the elements. Buildings should be designed to create the most floor-space with the least amount of building materials, thus the least wall area. A circular building is most efficient, with an “efficiency ratio” of floor area to lineal feet of walls of 8.9. However, a circular building is more difficult to build than one with flat surfaces. An octagonal building, which as an efficiency ratio of 8.7, is much easier to build. A square building is a bit less efficient, with a ratio of 7.9. Rectangular shapes become less efficient as the length and width become less congruent. For example, a rectangular building that is 10′ wide and 100′ long has an efficiency ratio of 4.5.
The Solargon is designed to meet the " Odesa Criteria"
2. Proper DESIGN;
3. Excellent thermal ENVELOPE;
4. Energy-efficient and right-sized SYSTEMS;
5. Appropriate use of ALTERNATIVE energy to achieve net-zero energy use.
The first four steps achieve CONSERVATION by reducing heating, cooling, and lighting loads.
The final step achieves CONVERSION by generating all the remaining energy needed on-site.
ODESA is the most cost-effective way to achieve net-zero and low-impact living.

Article by Brian Propp

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Willett Solargon Finished

The Willett off-grid Solargon located in Sand Creek Park, Colorado is complete.
They have been busy this year finishing the interior of the cabin, setting up
the the solar and wind turbine systems, trenching for wiring and
waterpipes, and digging the well and septic system. See More Pictures                       

Living Room

Bedroom: Notice solar panel system and wind turbine outside the window.
Clic on Willett Solargon to see more pictures of this finished project.