The house burned down. The garage didn’t. Then I bought the property. It has a septic system, a well, public electricity to the site, telephone to the site, a damaged cinderblock foundation that was the basement of the previous house, and a 864 sq ft garage with a great solar exposure. The property is in the mountains of south central Colorado 25 miles from any city.

Goals (long term)

Build my own home, no loan, solar, year around gardens, bees, (now fish), chickens, and rabbits (maybe goats too). Hypar roof made of two thin shells of concrete sandwiched around 10 inches of eps-crete supported on two buttressed corners with lots of south and west exposure glass to take advantage of the incredible views.

Goals (short term)

Get electricity to the garage (in progress). When the electricity is connected, I will have water, and septic as well as power to run the tools to build the future house. Build a solar greenhouse on the south side of the garage (in progress). The solar greenhouse will provide garage warmth in winter as well as plant space year around. The garage will be the living space and workspace until the house is built.

Solar Greenhouse plans:

When I first started the project to add solar greenhouse space to the south side of my garage, I had not found this group. I have limited solar background and was pretty much shooting in the dark. I planned to extend the southern garage roof about 8 feet (material will dictate exact measure). This will make a sunroom (greenhouse) that is about 6-7 feet by 36 feet. It will also drop the roof level close to the height of the windows I bought (5’4″). I plan for the windows to be vertical with a roof overhang. I had a 3 foot deep trench dug through this space. The idea with the trench was to stratify the air and increase the solar exposure area. (a recent TMEN article showed plans for an earth sheltered greenhouse that gave me the idea to dig the trench)

Questions

Is the trench a good/bad idea? I plan to run a water line through this trench as well as electricity, so I won’t lose a thing to fill in the ditch. Does Laren’s recent posting about not using absorbent materials (covering cement with carpet) apply? I’m thinking I want the greenhouse space to stay as warm as possible to aide plant growth. Please critique my plan.