Solomon Home

598 Lucille Drive Incline Village NV

OWNER: Ben and Margaret Solomon

DESIGNER/ BUILDER: Ben and Margaret Solomon, Steve Matson and Huey Geipen

SIZE OF HOME: 3000 square feet

DATE OF CONSTRUCTION: Originally `965; Remodeled 1980

PROJECT: Passive and active solar home designed to function as closely as possible to a conventional home.





We average 2 cords of wood per year since 1980 for space heat. Average electricity supplied by the utility is 145 KWh/ month = $12/ month. Batteries last for 7 years.


Our original motivation was based on economic, as well as environmental considerations. Our house faced due south, and there was no tree cover on that side. We built all of our own equipment at first, including the solar panels and wood stoves. This actively evolved into an academic major at Sierra Nevada College, and we became leaders in the field of small scale application of renewable resources. We had two Federal grants for the Thompson stove and built electric cars as well as several passive solar buildings.

Aside from having to move wood, our house now functions with very little attention. Once a month I check the batter water. Each two months we need to add some water and do a 5 hour equalizing charge. The system functions as a total uninterruptible power supply. The DHW fluid is changed every 5 years or so. Our gas bill for snow melt and DHW backup is expected to average $120/ year. Wood costs $300/ year, and electricity $150, for a total of $570/ year.

The heating collecting greenhouse is an especially nice living space, attached as it is to the living room. We integrated our solar thermal collectors on top of the already glassed walls of this area, to make a coherent design from the whole concept.

A building belonging to Sierra Nevada College is just across the street from our house. This has been built with recycled, south facing windows, and a stair well, whose concrete walls act as a heat collecting Trombe wall. This is especially effective in the winter, and is responsible for a substantial portion of the heating load of that building. You are encouraged to walk across the street to see how this kind of design can be incorporated into normal architecture


In Incline Village, on Tahoe Blvd (route 28), take Village Blvd up the hill (east). Turn left on the second road past the high school, College Road. The second street is Lucille. Park immediately. We’re on the corner.