Small House

Murphy Small House: Passive Solar Design under 800 sf

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Small House - Passive Solar Gem

Dennison, Minnesota


This project is a small, beautiful utilitarian little house on the prairie that recalls its agricultural roots and surroundings.


Two people. 30 acres of native prairie at the edge of the big woods. 840 s.f of interior space. Passive solar design. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Just like you want it to be.

This super insulated, passive solar home features home features many sustainable, green strategies in small package. The exterior walls roof and slab have high r-values, feature durable low maintenance metal siding and roofing, high performance triple glazed low-e windows and a fixed exterior shading device to allow solar gain in the winter but keep it out during the summer.


The interior features straightforward finishes. The thermal mass/trombe storage wall is sand filled concrete covered with a natural clay plaster. The floors are polished concrete and hold the home's in-floor hydronic heating system. Everyone's toes are toasty. The kids are alright.


Other green features of the project include:

  • Native grasses, prairie and plantings
  • Low Flow plumbing fixtures
  • Low VOC paints, adhesives
  • FSC Wood


Photo Gallery

“We were determined to be as ecologically responsible as we could in building our new house. We felt comfortable with EcoDEEP from the first meeting. They were genuinely interested in what we wanted and guided us through many decisions to arrive at an exciting new house that uses sustainable materials in creative ways.”



-Robert and Ann 

All photos by Gilbertson Photography. 


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