Archive for the ‘Alternative Energy’ Category

Well we are just about done here…………….For a while at least. The owner of this fabulous site is doing the finish work on these homes. The doors he has built are beautiful. The drywall is hung, taped and textured, the tile floating for the showers will start Monday, and we should have a color coat on the buildings in a week. As soon as we have the final color we can finish the roofing, and install the Photovoltaic panels. This is truly a gem, not oversized and it has a 120 degree view of the coast on clear days.


The owners are moved in and the photovoltaic panels are on line.You will notice the plants and trees in the concrete planters around the wet bar add a nice softening touch. Cutting edge glass and insulation technologies keep this hilltop home nice and warm during windy winter storms.  More photos to come as the tricky exterior glass awning structure receives it’s final touches.







This home has been designed and engineered with advanced framing technologies where minimal framing materials allow for a speedy erection and significantly reduced waste. Some examples of the building techniques are 24″ centers for studs, single top plates, 3 stud corners and drywall backing clips.

Wow, the coastal Rammed earth is beautiful! Finally all the glass is in and there is some landscaping beginning. There are going to be many beautiful pictures to follow, but here are a couple of what you would see from the south side. One is of the office space above the garage, and the other is of the entrance between the office and the home. The glass in these southern elevations is an innovative product that has an exceptionally high insulation value.  Yes there are still a couple of ladders hanging around as there is a whole canopy being built over the entrance way, and one connecting the “roller coaster” beam to the office, The canopy over the entrance is going to be opaque Photovoltaic panels which will not only be power producing but provide a light shading as well. Keep an eye out for more pictures as this moves along.


Semmes and Company’s Solar Energy division, Semmes Solar, is currently installing photovoltaic panels on this strawbale home in Atascadero as the project is nearing completion. Maximum state rebates are obtained during the house contruction from the New Solar Homes Partnership program. 

The summer has hit and this house is staying incredibly cool inside thanks to the use of straw bale, high insulation and plenty of thermal mass. This home was also built with the use of our ‘Mobile Solar’, solar powered generator keeping electric bills low now and into the future.pv4

Semmes and Company is starting this new home in the North County and will be doing so with power from the sun using the Semmes Solar Generator. This home will be passive solar design and will feature advanced framing techniques to reduce lumber which will be FSC.


Here are before and after shots of the simple detailing that goes into the finishing of the interior of a straw bale home. The lines are soft and warm as is the feeling of the house upon completion. The floor is stained concrete, some paint and furniture and this room is ready to move into.




Pole mount Photovoltaic install in Atascadero.  This is a 3.7kw system using Sanyo 210n panels with a Sunny Boy inverter.  The pole mount can enable the install of a system on steep slopes like this hillside.


After a long rainy winter this strawbale is ready for plaster. Doors and windows as well as all the mechanical are installed.

Note the shelving on the right side, it is recycled lumber from the historic Wineman Hotel renovation. This material was originally milled over 100 years ago and has been brought new life as finish material for this project. Imagine if you will the plaster along the straw wall running right through, between the shelves the continuing along the back wall as opposed to standard built in book cases.


The owners are going to add the finishing touches to this cute coastal hills guest cottage now that they are moved in and getting settled. They are set up to harvest rain water, power the home with photovoltaics and are starting to grow a living roof on their subterranean storage space.