The Ehrenkrantz Solar Project

In The Solar House I mentioned that the Ehrenkrantz Group designed a solar house for Exxon in 1979.  Victor Lazzaro was the illustrator (see p.214).

There's more; this would be a great research project for a student.  It might make a great dissertation.  (I'll supervise!)

In 1977 Ezra D. Ehrenkrantz and Associates had about a dozen projects for the Department of Defense Solar Residential Demonstration Project.  Almost nothing about these projects is published.  Apparently, houses were built in these locations:

Naval Complex, San Diego
Naval Base, Twenty-Nine Palms, California
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado
NAVSU Base, New London, Connecticut
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Fort Polk, Louisiana
Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota
NETC, Newport, Rhode Island
Naval Weapons Station, Charleston, South Carolina
Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
Fort Belvoir, Virginia

I assembled this list from various sources, but most I culled from an appendix in Don Watson's Designing & Building a Solar House (1977).  Did this project consist of one design, built in all of these locations, or many unique designs?  Were they built?  Were they innovative, technically or aesthetically?

A bit of information, and some drawings, are found on this page by architect Jacob Alspector.

I also found this 1978 report which suggests that this project (or something similar) was funded in 1974 but was mismanaged.  It does not mention Ehrenkrantz and Associates.


A 1977 GSA Memo (p. 30 of the pdf here) says that Ehrenkrantz, Inc. had been retained "to investigate the feasibility of adding a solar system to the White House."  A 2017 obituary of Stephen Weinstein said that he had worked "for many years with Ehrenkrantz Associates" and that he had "designed the solar energy system for the White House," though these two points were not necessarily associated.

The Ehrenkrantz firm is not credited in the sources I've studied about President Carter's solar White House project, but this certainly merits more investigation.


Additionally, in 1978, the Ehrenkrantz Group completed a report for the U.S. Department of Energy entitled "Cost Benefit Analysis of Passive Solar Design Alternatives: New Office Building Temperate Climate."

In 1979, Stephen H. Dalton of the Ehrenkrantz Group gave a paper entitled "Dealing with the Government: An Examination of the Legislative Barriers and Incentives to Passive Solar Design" to the 4th National Passive Solar Conference.

And in 1979, the Ehrenkrantz Group completed a report for the Department of Energy entitled "Active Solar Energy System Design Practice Manual."


When Ezra Ehrenkrantz died in 2001, he merited a remembrance in the New York Times, but it did not mention solar architecture.