8×20 Solar House Update… Free Plans Nearly Complete

For the past two weeks I’ve been test driving Google SketchUp Pro and have come to a simple conclusion. Unless you’re a professional I think you’ll be able to do much more than you’ve ever dreamed with the free version of SketchUp, including drawing house plans. Below is a quick video tour of my drawing of the 8×20 Solar House. It’s not quite finished but I wanted to give you a progress report.

The only advantage I can see with the pro version is that you can create your own unique visual styles and make build presentations using Google Layout. But when I publish the free house plans for this house I’ll just use the free version and I think you’ll be able to see how easily nearly perfect 2D drawings can be exported too. For those of you exploring SketchUp on your computers feel free to download my current working file. Try turning on and off the layers and notice that everything is a component. Below is a screen-shot of the drawing.


11 thoughts on “8×20 Solar House Update… Free Plans Nearly Complete

  1. James says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you were planning on implementing a loft in this design? Seems difficult to work in. I was thinking about sliding the dormer area all the way to the back, allowing for a big enough space to do a loft in the front peaked roof area?

    Looking forward to a finished version!

  2. James says:

    P.S. I am really looking forward to seeing these plans done. I have my contractor uncle waiting to start building. We very well may use your plans as our primary template.

    Thanks very much.

  3. michaeljanzen says:

    I don't think a loft would work doing the roof way. My plan was to draw a murphy bed/cabinet do the living space could stay large and then transform into sleeping space.

  4. michaeljanzen says:

    Hi James. Exciting! All things equal I should have these plans ready by Monday. I'm almost done just need to clean up a few items and fix the dimension arrows so they print flat better.

    I'd also love to see how the how comes along. If you're so inclined you might want to document your progress online. You can setup a free blog at http://www.wordpress.com and it's pretty easy to figure out how to do it.

  5. James says:

    Hi Michael-

    I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    We were originally planning on purchasing the 2008 floor model Martin house-to-go ( http://www.lodge-on-wheels.com/floormodel.html ) BUT it looks like she has sold it to someone else, so we are now planning to build something similar.

    I was intrigued by your design because of all the sun exposure. Even if we don't follow the roof design exactly, it is going to make things loads easier for my uncle if he has some kind of basic plans to work from.

    I guess the roof is consderably lower at the peaked areas compared to something like the Martin, so there's no room for a loft. I do imagine it feels very open inside, though.

    Can you tell me more about the bed idea? I am willing to forego a loft if there is another way we can work our queen size tempurpedic mattress into the design. I like the idea of a convertible bed space to keep the living area optimum.

    I look forward to seeing what you've come up with for an interior layout.

    We have very little kitchen needs (about 80% of what we eat is raw fruit) and are looking for a design that allows the kitchen utilities (dormer fridge, small sink, two-burner electric range) to be worked inconspicuously into the living space to maximize spacial availability. (The martin floorplan works the kitchen counters into the main living space, along one side… we may end up doing something like this.)

    We do have a website going chronicling our process so far. We weren't even sure if we were going to build.

    When we start building, it will be flooded with as much documentation of the process as possible.

    Here is our site: http://escape-from-density.blogspot.com

    Thanks for the response, Michael, I appreciate it!

  6. Mark Harrison says:

    Michael, If this isn't to cheeky! When you produce your plans can you publish a metric set? Thank's a million! Mark

  7. Lauren says:

    I’m curious, what’s the purpose of the notched areas at the base / center of the structure. You seem to have them on both the window side and the rear side?

    I can’t figure out why these would need to be there.

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