Hernikl and Associates
An Easy Living Passive Solar Home


Incorporating the convective loop concept, this house was designed by John Hernikl, Architect, for his personal home.


The large south facing atrium provides extended indoor/outdoor living space, as well as being the collector for solar energy. The atrium is connected to the crawl space, attic and north wall plenum cavity for free flow of air which acts through gravity convection, transfering heat energy uniformly around the interior building shell. Because of the thermal transfer characteristics of the convection loop, the interior portion of the building shell maintains a relatively stable temperature throughout the day, varying somewhat with the seasons. The heat involved in lighting, backup water heating and normal daily activities is sufficient to provide the heat required for comfort throughout most of the winter season.


The house is approximately 3000 sq. ft. in total, approximately 500 sq. ft. is in the atrium and approximately 2500 sq. ft. of living space in the interior zone of the house. It is located in the California Energy Regulation zone # 12, and Sunset Gardening's climatic zone # 14.


Backup heating, provided through an air tight wood burning stove, is normally used only during extended stormy or overcast weather periods, or unusually cold weather events. Backup cooling is provided by fans.

The house is fitted with a solar hot water collector system featuring three (3) 3'X7' flat plate collectors.


The building was designed to incorporate industry standard construction techniques, details and building components. All of the building's systems and components were chosen to be "off the shelf". Even the large atrium vents, located at the plane of the roof, are fabricated utilizing pre-hung 3'x6'8" hollow core doors.

In contrast to the axiom that passive solar homes require active occupants, this home is very easy to operate. It involves opening the atrium vents in the spring, so as to prevent overheating, and closing them in the fall, to retain heat within the envelope. Operations and maintenance are easy, simple and straight forward. The plan and design provide for Family style living and entertaining - with the emphasis on easy.


"Hot Links" to related information

Floor plans and photos of some other houses designed by Hernikl and Associates.

Learn about our legacy: Baggins End-- student housing built by students at U C Davis in 1972.


For more information .... E-mail Hernikl@aol.com


This site is hosted by The Eco-Home Network and sponsored by EcoSystems
updated 1997 March 19