Resources on Solar House History
available on the web; no paywall
ordered roughly by the narrative structure of the book
please email me about broken links
**new June 2018 *new May 2018
2014 Denzer paper: "Modern Architecture and Theories of Solar Orientation" (pdf)
2015 Ute Poerschke paper: "Solar Buildings in the 1920s: The Discourse on Best Sun Orientation in Modern Housing" (pdf)
General Period Sources (pre-1970)
1945 Henry N. Wright and George Nelson book: Tomorrow's House (full text); Chapter 15 is "Solar Heating"
1948 Geoffrey Baker & Bruno Funaro book: Windows in Modern Architecture; section "Solar Heat"
1950 James Marston Fitch paper: "Buildings Designed for Climate Control"
1951 HHFA report: Climate and Architecture: Selected References
1952: "The Possibilities of Solar Energy" from Resources for Freedom (Paley Commission report)
1953 Palmer Putnam book: Energy in the Future (full text)
1954 HHFA report: Application of climatic data to house design
1954 UNESCO report: "Report on the Sources and Uses of Energy in Arid Zones" (pdf)
1955 Life article: "Fresh Face to the Sun"
1955 Mechanix Illustrated article: "Hot News about the Sun"
1955 Popular Science article: "New Sun Furnaces May Cool Houses, Too"
1956 University of Kansas bulletin: Natural Light and the Inside-outside Heliodon
1958 Groff Conklin book: The Weather-Conditioned House (full text)
1959 Richard C. Jordan paper: "The Future of Solar Heating"
1963 book: Introduction to the utilization of solar energy
1963 BRI report: "Solar Effects on Building Design" (pdf); also: link
George Fred Keck and his circle
1933: House of Tomorrow
Official booklet (pdf)
Alpha Rho Chi article (pdf; p.4)
Archival images:     
HABS documents at Library of Congress
The House of Tomorrow Postcard
1933 Museum of Modern Art press release (pdf)
1940: Sloan House
Alpha Rho Chi article (pdf; p.2) (from Chicago Tribune)
1944 Patent: Radiant Heating for Buildings
1944: Green's Ready-Made Homes
Brochure images [cover] [back]
Popular Mechanics article (1945): "Your Solar Home is all Wrapped Up"
Central States Research report (1946): The Story of Factory-made Houses (Keck; p. 7 & 12)
Maison Française images (1947) [Link]
Burnham Kelly book (1951): The Prefabrication of Houses
1944 Popular Mechanics article: "Solar House Reduces Fuel Bills by One-Third"
1984: Paul Schweikher interview (pdf) by Betty Blum ("A Regale of Tales")
1991: William Keck oral history
1995: Robert Bruce Tague oral history
1998 Chicago Tribune article: "Cold And Dreary Chicago Was An Early Sun City"
2012 Denzer paper: "Prefab + Solar at Midcentury" (pdf)
Frank Lloyd Wright
1952: Jacobs house II in Built in USA: Post-war Architecture
1992: tour of Jacobs house II including Katherine Jacobs (link to video)
1993: City of Madison Landmarks nomination for Jacobs house II (pdf)
2001: National Register of Historic Places nomination for Jacobs house II (pdf)
1944-45 pamphlet: "Solar Houses: An Architectural Lift in Living"
1946 pamphlet: "Thermopane"
1946 patent: "Method and Apparatus for use in Designing Solar Houses"
1951: Sun Angle Calculator
Your Solar House (1947)
2008 Denzer paper: "The Solar House in 1947" (pdf)
Harwell Hamilton Harris, California house:  
Harris Armstrong, Missouri house; 2007 blog by Andrew Raimist:  
Stonorov & Kahn, Pennsylvania house: Archival Image Gallery
Article on Ruth Reynolds Freeman’s Vermont house
Henry N. Wright
1945 book Tomorrow's House (full text) by Wright and George Nelson; Chapter 15 is "Solar Heating"
2001 Joanna Kendig thesis: "The Ramirez Solar House: A Case Study of Early Solar Design" (pdf)
2005 Old House Journal article: "Let the Sun Shine"
2008 Tom Solon article: "Rehabilitation of Henry Wright’s Ramirez Solar House"
Ramirez house photo album on Flickr
Arthur T. Brown
Ball-Paylore house archival photos
2010 Denzer paper: "Arthur T. Brown: Pioneer of Passive Solar Architecture" (pdf)
Archival photos from MIT Museum
1940 Popular Science article illustrated with MIT house 1
1949 Popular Science article featuring MIT house 3
1949 The Tech article: "Solar House Occupied" (pdf)
1949 The Tech article: "Tech Family Finds Solar House Life Is Pretty Hot Stuff" (pdf; p.2)
1950 The Tech article: "Symposium Explores Possibilities Of Solar Heating For Houses" (pdf)
1950 The Tech article: "Heating Unit Shows Success" (pdf)
1953 Austin Whillier dissertation: "Solar energy collection and its utilization for house heating"
1957 article on MIT house 4: "The House that Stores the Sun"
1958 British Pathé film on MIT house 4
1962 Popular Mechanics article: "Sun Heats Test Home"
1963 Hottel paper: "Collection of Solar Energy"
1973 Bruce Anderson thesis: "Solar Energy and Shelter Design" (pdf)
1976 Dietz & Czapek paper: "M.I.T. Solar House 2"
1978 Popular Science article on MIT Solar Five
1980 Barbara S. Parker thesis: "Institutionalizing Solar Thermal Technologies in the Homebuilding Industry"
1998 Victoria LaGuette thesis: "A guide to source materials of the life and work of Lawrence B. Anderson" (pdf)
Löf house archival photos: 
1946 Löf report: "Solar energy utilization for house heating"; also here
1958 Popular Science article: "Will Your Next House Get Its Heat from the Sun?"
1963 Löf paper: "The Heating and Cooling of Buildings with Solar Energy"
1969 Löf and Tybout paper: "Solar Housing Heating"
CSU Solar Village archival photos:  
June 1973 Congressional testimony
March 1974 letter to Congress
1974 Löf paper: "Solar House - Colorado State University"
1974 Löf paper: "The Colorado State University Solar Heated and Cooled House"
1974 Löf and Tybout paper: "The Design and Cost of Optimized Systems..."
September 1975 letter to Congress
1976 Löf paper: "Heating of Buildings with Solar Energy"
1978 Löf paper: “A Problem with Passive” from Congressional Record
2010 Denzer article: "Remembering George Löf" (pdf; p.7)
2012 Denzer paper: "George Löf: Denver's Solar Pioneer" (pdf)
George Löf patents
Solar Heating Apparatus and Method (1945)
Solar heating system and operation thereof (1975)
Modular construction for solar heat collector (1975)
Solar heat absorber (1975)
George Löf house demolition
Original blog post (June 23, 2013)
Reprinted at ASES website (June 27, 2013)
Published in Solar Today (September/October 2013) p.53
Modified for GreenBuildingAdvisor.com (October 1, 2013)
Löf's Solar Energy Applications Lab (SEAL) at CSU
1977 CSU report: Solar Heating and Cooling of Residential Buildings: Design of Systems
1977 CSU report: Solar Heating and Cooling of Residential Buildings: Sizing, Installation, and Operation of Systems (pdf)
1982 CSU report: How to solve materials and design problems in solar heating and cooling
Maria Telkes archival photos:  
Maria Telkes items at MIT Museum
Dover Sun House archival photos:      
1949 Telkes article: "A Review of Solar House Heating" (pdf)
1949 Popular Science article featuring Dover Sun House
1951 Telkes article: "Future Uses of Solar Energy"
1952 Telkes article: "Warmth for Comfort"
1980 Popular Science article: "Solar salts"
1996 New York Times obituary
2010 MIT Article: "The House of the Day After Tomorrow"
Maria Telkes patents
Radiant Energy Heat Transfer Device (1946)
Composition of Matter for the Storage of Heat (1951)
Heat Storage Unit (1951)
Method and Apparatus for the Storage of Heat (1952)
Apparatus for Storing and Releasing Heat (1952)
Bridgers & Paxton
1956 Life article: "Warm Winter Behind Glass"
1957 Popular Mechanics article: "Albuquerque Solar Building"
1974 Frank Bridgers letter to Congress
1974 Stanley Gilman paper: "Solar Assisted Heat Pumps"
1974 Stanley Gilman report: Evaluation of the Solar Building (pdf)
1974 description of NMSU Agriculture Building
1978 Popular Science article: "Higher efficiency with solar-assisted heat pumps"
Raymond W. Bliss
Bliss house archival photos:  
1954 patent: Solar Water Heating System
1955 Life article: "Fresh Face to the Sun"
1976 Bliss article: "Why not just build the house right in the first place?"
John Yellott / AFASE / Living with the Sun
1955 article: "A Report on the World Solar Energy Conference" (pdf)
1958 UNESCO Courier article: "Arizona Builds a Solar House" (pdf; p. 12)
1959 Yellott article: "Heat Your House with Solar Energy"
March 1974 Congressional testimony
1974 Yellott report: "Solar Energy Utilization for Heating and Cooling" (ASHRAE Handbook)
1976 Yellott paper: "Early Tests of the Skytherm System"
1972 patent: Naturally air-conditioned dwellings
1974 Trombe paper: "Le chauffage par rayonnement solaire" (pdf)
1976 Trombe paper: "Some Performance Characteristics of the CRNS Solar House Collectors"
recent photo of original Trombe house
1977 article: "Passive Solar Design Using a Two-Story Trombe Wall"
1977 excerpt: "The Doug Kelbaugh House" from Passive Solar Buildings: A Compilation...
2016 CCA article: "The Kelbaugh House" including primary source documents
1973 Mother Earth News interview
1974 Mother Earth News article: "Steve Baer's Beadwall Insulated Window Panels"
1974 patent: Solar Heating Device
1975 Baer paper: "The Clothesline Paradox" (pdf)
1976 Baer paper: "Corrales Residence"
1976 Baer paper: "Moveable Insulation"
1978 David Harrsion paper: "Beadwalls" (pdf)
1980: High Country News article on Steve Baer (pdf; p.2)
1965 Popular Mechanics article: "House with Sunshine in the Basement"
1973 Popular Mechanics article: "The house that has its furnace in the sky"
June 1973 Congressional testimony
November 1973 Congressional testimony
1974: letters & pamphlets submitted to Congress
1977 HUD report on Solaris system
1979 Mother Earth News interview
Page listing numerous patents by Thomason
1973 Hay letter to Congress
1973 Mother Earth News interview
March 1974 Congressional testimony
1974 Hay paper: "How to Stop Cooling Loads before they Start"
1975 book excerpt: "Low-Cost Solar Technology---The Work of Harold Hay" (from Wilson Clark, Energy for Survival)
1976 Hay paper: "Atascadero Residence"
1976 John Yellott paper: "Early Tests of the 'Skytherm' System"
1976 Kenneth Haggard paper: "First Cost Economic Evaluation of the Atascadero Skytherm House"
1976 Philip Niles paper: "Modeling the Atascadero House"
2010 article: "In Memory of Harold Hay" (pdf; p.7)
1976 Saunders paper: "Weston Residence"
1976 Saunders paper: "Economics - One View"
1983: Christian Science Monitor article on Shrewsbury house
1983 Shurcliff book excerpt: Super Solar Houses: Saunders's 100% Solar, Low-cost Designs (pdf)
Norman Saunders patents
Heating and Ventilation System (1974)
Solar Collector and Heating and Cooling System (1975)
Heating, Lighting and Ventilation Systems (Solar Staircase, 1976)
Curtain Assembly (1978)
Glazing Panel Assembly (1979)
Solar Collector and Heating and Cooling System (1980)
Solar Energy Fluid Heating System (1980)
October 1973 letter to Congress
August 1975 letter to Congress
1975 book: Solar Heated Buildings: A Brief Survey (7th ed.)
1975 article: "William A. Shurcliff's Advice on Corporate vs. Independent Inventions"
1976 article: "Active-type solar heating systems for houses: a technology in ferment"
1979 book excerpt: Low-Cost Solar Heating -- 100 Daring Schemes Tried and Untried
1980 article: "Carrythrough Time in Passive Houses" (pdf) p.14
1981 book: Super Insulated Houses and Double-Envelope Houses (pdf)
1983 book excerpt: Super Solar Houses: Saunders's 100% Solar, Low-cost Designs (pdf)
1973 Böer paper: "...The Delaware Experiment"
1973 letter to Congress describing Solar One house
1973 article: "Solar energy may achieve wide use by 1980s" from Congressional Record
1974 Böer paper: "Solar one - The Delaware solar house and results obtained during the first year of operation" (pdf)
1974 letter to Congress
Finding Aid to Böer Papers at University of Delaware
First Village, Santa Fe; Balcomb House
1977 Sandia Nat'l Labs article: "Unit 1 First Village" (pdf)
1979 Mother Earth News article: "Unit One: A Solar Adobe Home"
1979 Progressive Architecture article (pdf)
1980 Balcomb paper: "Performance evaluation of the Balcomb solar house"
1989 New Mexico magazine article on William Lumpkins (pdf)
Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory / Douglas Balcomb
1978 paper: "Passive Testing at Los Alamos"
1987 paper: "Passive Solar in the United States: 1976-1986" (pdf)
Univ. of Illinois Small Homes Council
1973 report: "Living with the Energy Crisis" (pdf)
1976 publication: "Council Notes: Illinois Lo-Cal House" (pdf)
1976 video: "Solar House Design"
1979 report: "Details and Engineering Analysis of the Illinois Lo-Cal House" (pdf)
1982 report: "Computer Studies of Passive-Solar Design" (pdf)
1982 McCulley paper: "Energy Monitoring Results of a Superinsulated Passive Solar Building" (pdf)
1986 report: "Research Studies in a Super-Insulated House" (pdf)
Wisconsin Solar Energy Laboratory
1975 thesis: "The design and predicted performance of Arlington House"
1977 article: "UW Engineers Design Solar Energy Research House"
1977 article: "Unique Design Components to Improve Efficiency of Solar Heating System"
1976 John Duffie & William Beckman article: "Solar Heating and Cooling" (pdf)
1976: John Duffie Oral History
1978 DOE report: On Simulation and Design of Solar Thermal Processes
1997: Clayton Smith Oral History
The 1970s-80s: Other houses
1974: Integral Urban House
1976 Mother Earth News article: "Urban Homesteading: The Integral Urban House"
1980 Mother Earth News article: "The Integral Urban House"
1975: Decade 80 Solar House
1975 newspaper article
1975 The Official article (pdf)
1976 article "Here Comes the Sun":     
1978 NASA report: "Instrumentation at the Decade 80 solar house in Tucson, Arizona"
1980 NASA report: "Solar energy system performance evaluation: Seasonal report for Decade 80 House"
1977: TERA One house
1975: USAFA Solar Test House
1977: Second Interim Technical Report (pdf)
1980: Final Interim Technical Report (pdf)
1976: NASA Tech House
1977 report: NASA Tech House
1979 report: NASA Tech House; [mirror site]
1977: ACES Demonstration House
1976 ORNL report: Design Report for the ACES Demonstration House
1977: Popular Science article
1978 ORNL report: Performance report for the ACES demonstration house, August 1976--August 1977
1978 ORNL report: ACES Demonstration: Construction, Startup, and Performance Report
1979 summary from Residential Energy Conservation
1981 Harry C. Fischer paper: "Energy Storage and Time-of-Day Rates"
1980: Carlisle House:
1981 DOE report: Carlisle house: An all-solar-electric residence (pdf)
1980: Natural Thermal Storage House
1981 Brookhaven Nat'l Lab paper: "Thermal Performance of the Brookhaven Natural Thermal Storage House"
1985: Impact 2000 House
1984 Popular Mechanics article: "Best New Homes under the Sun"
The 1970s-80s: General Sources
1974 Popular Science article: "Can sunshine heat (and cool) your house?"
1975 Bruce Anderson article: "The Sun in a Drawer"
1975 J.K. Page article: "Solar Housing"
1977 Kaiman Lee book: Encyclopedia of Energy-Efficient Building Design: 391 Practical Case Studies
1979 Don Aitken report: A Bibliography for the Solar Homebuilder
1979 Michael Holtz paper: "A Classification Scheme for the Common Passive and Hybrid Heating and Cooling Systems"
1979 Oregon State thesis: "Passive solar heating residences"
1981 Buck Rogers article: "Taking the Mystery out of Passive Solar Design"
1981 Paul Goldberger New York Times article: "Assessing Solar House Architecture"
1981 book: Solar Energy Applications in Houses: Performance and Economics in Europe
1983 Lawrence Berkeley paper: "The Impact of Building Orientation on Residential Heating and Cooling"
New Alchemy publications online
Vintage Solar House Plans
The 1970s-80s: Reports
1974 National Academy of Sciences report: Solar Heating-Cooling of Buildings: Current Building Community Projects
1975 ERDA report: Catalog on Solar Energy Heating and Cooling Products
1975 National Research Council of Canada report: Solar Heating - The State of the Art (pdf)
1976 AIA research report: Solar Dwelling Design Concepts
1976 ERDA report: National program for solar heating and cooling of buildings
1976 NASA report: An Inexpensive Economical Solar Heating System for Homes (pdf)
1976 National Academy of Sciences report: Solar Heating and Cooling of Buildings: Activities of the Private Sector
1977 HUD report: Passive Design Ideas for the Energy Conscious Architect
1977 HUD report: Solar Energy and Your Home
1977 SERI report: Annual review of solar energy (pdf)
1978 AIA research report: Solar Architecture (pdf)
1978 AIA research report: Passive Technology (pdf)
1978 AIA research report: Passive Solar Design: An Extensive Bibliography
1978 AIA research report: A Survey of Passive Solar Buildings
1978 AIA research report: Regional Guidelines for Building Passive Energy Conserving Homes
1978 Congressional report: Application of Solar Technology to Today's Energy Needs
1978 Council on Environmental Quality report: Solar Energy, Progress and Promise
1978 DOE report: Building the Solar Home: Some Early Lessons Learned
1978 NCAT report: Building & Energy: Bibliography
1979 DOE report: The First Passive Solar Home Awards
1979 OTA report: Residential Energy Conservation (pdf)
1979 Alex Wilson report: Thermal Storage Wall Design Manual (pdf)
1979 SERI report (Greg Franta): Commercializing Solar Architecture (pdf)
1980 Sandia Natl Lab report: Performance of a solar-heated assembly building at Sandia National Laboratories
1980 DOE report: Solar-assisted low energy dwellings
1980 SERI report: Passive Design: It's A Natural
1980 HUD report: Selling the Solar Home '80
1980 Worldwatch report (Christopher Flavin): Energy and Architecture: The Solar and Conservation Potential (pdf)
1981 DOE report: Solar Energy Reader (pdf)
1981 HUD report: New Energy-conserving Passive Solar Single-family Homes
1981 Steven Winter report: Passive Solar Construction Handbook
1982 DOE report: A Research Agenda: Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems
*1983 AIA report: Energy Conscious Design: Educational Facilities
1984 SERI report: Passive Solar Performance
The 1970s-80s: State-specific Reports
1977 NASA/JPL report: Solar energy in buildings: Implications for California energy policy
**1981 booklet: Arkansas Solar Retrofit Guide
1981 Phillip Tabb paper: "Solar Architecture in Colorado"
1982 report: Path to Passive: Nebraska's Passive Solar Primer (pdf)
1983 report: Nebraska Residential Solar Architecture: A Representative Inventory (pdf)
1983 ANL report: Simulation and Optimization Study of a Solar Seasonal Storage District Heating System: The Fox River Valley Case Study (pdf)
1987 report: A Builder’s Guide to Iowa’s IDEAL Homes (pdf)
History of Insulation
1897 De La Vergne Company catalog, Chapter on Insulation
1928 Cabot pamphlet: "Build warm houses with Cabot's quilt"
1930 Johns-Manville pamphlet: "The Invisible Home"
1931 National Bureau of Standards report: Heat transfer through building walls
1931 National Committee on Wood Utilization report: "House insulation: its economies and application"
1936 Johns-Manville pamphlet: "101 Practical Suggestions for Home Improvements"
1936 Insulite pamphlet: "Facts about roof insulation"
1942 Paul Close report: Building Insulation
1944 Univ of Illinois report: "Fuel Savings Resulting from use of Insulation and Storm Windows" (pdf)
1947 Paul Close report: Thermal Insulation of Buildings
1948 USDA report: "Your farmhouse: insulation and weatherproofing"
1949 Celotex pamphlet: "How you can build better homes at lower cost"
1951 USDA report: Thermal Insulation (pdf)
1965 USDA report: "Thermal insulation for building construction"
History of Superinsulation
Lo-Cal house: (see above)
Saskatchewan Conservation house:
1978 Dumont paper: "Passive Solar Heating - Results from Two Saskatchewan Residences" (pdf)
1981 Popular Science article: "From the Far North: Lessons on How to Slash Fuel Bills"
1981 Dumont & Orr paper: "Air Tightness Measurements of Detached Houses in the Saskatoon Area" (pdf)
1983 Dumont & Orr paper: "Low Energy Houses" (pdf)
1988 Dumont paper: "How tight is tight enough?" (pdf, p.68)
2011 Monte Paulson article: "Step Inside the Real Home of the Future"
2013 Harold Orr article: "The Saskatchewan Conservation House in Retrospect"
2015 Harold Orr interview by Ben Adam-Smith: [audio] [transcript (pdf)]
1980 Popular Science article: "Double-Wall House" (Leger house)
Blouin Superinsulated House:
1982 D.A. Hagan paper: "Thermal Performance of the Blouin Superinsulated House" (pdf)
1983 Brookhaven Natl Lab study: Blouin Superinsulated House
1984 Brookhaven Bulletin article: "Case Study: A Superinsulated House" (pdf)
1981 Popular Science article: "Super-insulated Houses"
1982 Mother Earth News article: "Super-Insulated House Plans"
1982 National Research Council of Canada report: Thermal Envelope Houses (pdf)
1986 Chicago Tribune article: "Superinsulation Just Waiting To Be Discovered"
2009 Martin Holladay blog: "Forgotten Pioneers of Energy Efficiency"
2010 Martin Holladay presentation: "The History of Superinsulated Houses in North America" (pdf)
2010 Martin Holladay blog: "Solar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old Debate"
2016 Martin Holladay blog: "A Superinsulated House from 1984"
Recent Sources (historical)
2000 Mother Jones article: "Prodigal Sun"
2007 Garrett & Koontz report: "What Can We Learn from the Failure of Adoption of Passive Solar Homes?" (pdf)
2001 Adam Rome book chapter: "From the Solar House to the All-Electric House"
2012 Jim Laukes presentation: "Notes on the Taproots of Passive House: 1933-1984" (link to video)
2012 Harvard Business School report: “Power from Sunshine: A Business History of Solar Energy" (pdf)
2013 Sara Denise Shreve dissertation: "Futures so bright: solar homes in mid-twentienth century America"
2013 John Perlin article: "Seven of the Greatest Solar Stories Over the Millennia"
2013 John Perlin article: "Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy"
2013 John Perlin article: "How Ronald Reagan Turned Out the Lights on Solar Power"
2013 John Perlin lecture: "Let it Shine"