I got so much great feedback on the last Tiny Dogtrot House design concept that I decided to whip up a revision. Below is a slightly modified variation that now includes a screened porch between the two 8′ by 12′ sheds, a solar box around the water tank, radiant floor heating, and a tiny gap between the roofs of the two sheds. Justin at materialicious reminded me that a true dogtrot house has a contiguous roof. I wanted the two buildings to be independent structures; so I figure a tiny 2-inch gap seems like a reasonable compromise.
In addition to the porch and tank changes I extended the deck and roof a little too. It seems like a good idea to have a screened porch for buggy days and nights but it also seems like a good idea to have an open deck for sitting outside under the stars.
You’ll also notice that the water tank’s solar box has doors. In the winter the doors would remain open to help heat the rain water that collects there. The warm water could then be pumped through tubing in the floors to provide radiant heat. A small 12VDC pump powered by the photovoltaic system would circulate the water. The water could also be used for drinking after filtering out the dust that tends to wash off the roof when it rains.
If the floors were concrete slabs the added thermal mass would help keep the rooms more comfortable. I left the porch-side of the water tank uncovered so that the heat from the tank would help keep the porch area a little more comfortable during cool days. Insulated curved doors could be added to the porch side to keep the water from cooling when the porch is not occupied.
In the summer the doors on the water tank’s solar box would be closed to keep the water in the tank cool. I’m not sure how well it would work but theoretically the cool water could be pumped through the floors during the heat of the day to cool the rooms. The exposed water tank might also have a cooling effect on the porch in summer too.
I’ve also included two drawings that illustrates how the shadows cast by the eaves blocks most of the direct sunlight in summer and allows the sun to enter the house in winter. In the summer the sun is higher in the sky so the long eaves block the sun. In the winter the sun is lower in the sky and can shine in through the windows under the eaves. The optimal size of the eave depends on the home’s latitude.
For those of you playing with Google SketchUp I’ve also included my SketchUp file here for your enjoyment. I zipped the file for faster downloads; you’ll need to extract the zip file before opening with SketchUp.
Download The Dogtrot House V.2 SketchUp File
Above: In summer the doors on the water tank’s solar box are closed and the windows are shaded by the eaves.
Below: In winter the solar box doors are open to heat the water for radiant floor heating. The sun is lower in the sky and shines into the house to help heat the rooms.