Sustainable Architecture

Think Small

Heat with the Sun

Keep your Cool

Use Renewable Energy

Conserve Water

Use Local Materials

Use Natural Materials

Save our Forests

Recycle Materials

Build to Last

Grow your Food

Store your Food

Share Facilities


Few things give me more pleasure than living amongst green plants, especially when they are edible. If you couple this with the possibility of helping to heat your house, you can readily see why people become attached to their attached greenhouses. I have built several of them, with different materials and designs, but the basic concepts are really pretty simple. It is best to design an attached greenhouse into the original house plan, but it is often quite feasible to retrofit one onto an existing house. You need some space on the south side of the house wide enough to accommodate a growing bed and space for access. The area should not be obstructed by trees or other things that would limit the available sun light. It could have an outside entrance, but it doesn't have to.




The Glory of an Attached Greehouse

The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse



with Kelly Hart

Maya Madrigal


This is the attached solar greenhouse that is part of Kelly and Rosana Hart's earthbag home. What looks like a tree through the glass is actually a group of cherry tomato plants. The geranium on the right has grown nearly to the cieling.

The Forest Garden Greenhouse:
How to Design and Manage
an Indoor Permaculture Oasis

by Jerome Osentowski, 2015

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Edible Perennial Gardening 
by Anni Kelsey, 2014

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Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City
by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates, 2013

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Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist:
How to Have Your Yard
and Eat it Too
by Michael Judd, 2013

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The New Vegetable Growers Handbook 
by Frank Tozer, 2013

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Stand Up and Garden:
The no-digging, no-tilling,
no-stooping approach to growing vegetables and herbs

by Mary Moss-Sprague, 2012

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Seed to Salad in Seven Days

by Peter Burke, 2012

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Fall and Winter Bloom in the Solar Greenhouse
James L. Jones, 2012

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Slow Gardening:
A No-Stress Philosophy
for All Senses and Seasons

by Felder Rushing, 2011

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The Organbic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control
by Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara Ellis, 2010

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The Alternative Kitchen Garden 
by Emma Cooper, 2010

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Holy Shit:
Managing Manure
to Save Mankind

by  Gene Logsdon, 2010

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Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way
by Leandre Poisson, 2009

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Gaia's Garden
A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

by Toby Hemenway, 2009

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The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book
by Mike Oehler, 2007


Kelly Hart's review

Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
by Maria Rodale, Anna Kruger, 2005

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The Soul of Soil:
A Soil Building Guide

by Grace Gershuny & Joe Smillie, 1999

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The Food and Heat Producing Solar Greenhouse, Design, Construction, Operation
by Bill Yanda Rick Fisher, 1977

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Biodynamic Greenhouse Management
by Heinz Grotzke, 1996

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The Homeowner's Complete Handbook for Add-On Solar Greenhouses & Sunspaces: Planning, Design, Construction
by Andrew M. Shapiro, 1985

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Sunworks Greenhouse Paul Shippee, Designer

This attached solar greenhouse is designed for the Rocky Mountain (8,000 Degree Day) climate. It provides about 100,000 BTUs per day to help heat the house, as well as the 300 sq. ft. of floor space for growing plants. It is a 2X6 wood frame structure with a large glass facade (210 sq. ft.) aimed at the winter sun. The glass is insulated at night by a Beadwall system to help maintain minimum air temperatures of 55F degrees.

A small fan moves hot air out of the greenhouse and into the main house delivering heat and humidity on clear winter days. The fan is necessary to prevent temperatures in the greenhouse from climbing over 90F at mid-day. Barrels of water stacked two high along the north wall for thermal storage rise about 15F degrees on a sunny day. They store heat for night time use, preventing daytime overheating.

Glass is tilted 58 degrees to the horizontal to gain maximum solar aperture at this site. It has to be shaded by exterior curtains is the summer. The 350 cfm fan brings heat in winter to the house, dropping 15F before it returns to the greenhouse through an existing door. Summer ventilation is by roof ventilator and by cross-breeze through doors.

For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.


Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas extensive list of resources related to solar greenhouses.

is a very well organized site with lots of detailed information about all aspects of gardening.

fertilegarden.com features natural and organic products along with informative guides for their use.

growingspaces.com description of the advantages and possibilites of using solar geodesic grow-domes for gardening.

urbangardencenter.com the Urban Garden Center has assembled a tutorial on composting.

bidstrup.com a fascinating description of a concept for creating greenhouses in desert locations without extra water!

bugging-out.com information about diatomacious earth, a non-toxic insecticide.

youtube.com this Youtube video is a silent slideshow of building a solar greenhouse.

gardensupermart.com features several informative articles about how to compost organic materials.

gardenbeet.com desribes various options for vertical garden and living walls.

Disclaimer Of Liability And Warranty
I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks, Inc.


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