Click here to enlarge photos
House #
House Style
Size Ft2
Year Built
Earth-bermed & Stick Built (2x6 walls)
General Contractor
Sub-contractors (significant) & Type
Owner Bob Elk Alex Fonda, Lead carpenter
Janie Lewis, Stucco
C.J.Carter, Plumber
Scott Alexander, Foam insulation and roof membrane
Andy Osterhoff, Excavation, and site prep.
Primary E-Design Factors
Significant E-Products Used
R-49 roof insulation, R-26 walls
Passive solar design
Minimal site damage
Designed to be off grid (isn't at present)
Minimal light pollution
Used recycled doors and other products
Low maintenance
Few electronic devices that draw phantom loads
On-demand hot water
On-demand hot water Earth-berming and good insulation has made the house comfortable and very energy efficient. Size has proved spacious for two occupants, and reduced the amount of, and cost of materials used in construction.

The owner would not put the money in operable clerestory windows if building again, because this house stays cool enough in summer and does not need the extra ventilation.

An energy efficient, low maintenance house. For it's size, it feels spacious.The house blends in well with the site. It does not blight the hilltop, like so many houses in the Methow. Due to good insulation, and passive solar orientation, the house has not been over 75˚ in summer, and uses only a small propane heater for back-up heating in winter (two extra propane heaters in the bedrooms have never been used). Electric bills have averaged $20–25/ month, and propane $600–700/ year. The garage floor is crushed rock; this minimizes the use of concrete, and lets water/snow drain away naturally. Nice rock work on the side of the berm. One of the best features of this house is the feel of comfort in the air. It feels warm, but not dry like many forced air homes in this dry climate The quality of light is pleasant because the clearstory windows balance the large amount of light coming in from the passive sun orientation side. The appliances in the kitchen were chosen with no digital displays. The resulting kitchen uses less energy and looks and feels serene.

Owner's Advice: If you build small, it will cost less and be finished sooner. Hers was built quickly. Think of planning to put the kitchen away from direct contact with south facing, passive solar windows. You will have less glare when cooking.