'The Pearl' dome house - passive solar design with a touch of high-tech


March 16, 2011

The Pearl passive solar house by David Fanchon

The Pearl passive solar house by David Fanchon

Image Gallery (11 images)

Like its stablemate the Domespace house, David Fanchon's eco-friendly design is aimed at maximizing passive solar energy – though unlike the Domespace there's no rotating option. Dubbed "The Pearl," the standout features of the elegant domed structure are its integrated solar panels which can be adjusted to different angles to provide additional shade and optimize energy collection through the changing seasons.

The pictures tell the story of the way in which The Pearl takes advantage of passive solar principles. Large south-facing (or north-facing if you reside below the equator) bay windows fitted with an automated venting system soak up the winter sun and allow light to enter every room, while the white steel roof reflects the sun in summer.

Some additional energy saving options are not as apparent from the designs – the roofing shell can be insulated with a layer of air and cork beads (>R28), external walls are made of 12" thick compressed straw and the design can incorporate geothermal and wood pellet fed heating systems. There's also a rain water storage tank located at the base of the northern pedestal.

The aerodynamic dome shape delivers protection from high winds and wild weather and the arch shape also provides resistance to earthquakes.

The timber is FSC certified and the interior layout is fully customizable – the trick would be to make sure your property's best views lay to the south so you can make the most of the full 180 degree view from the main living area.

More info at the Solaleya site.


From the top-down view, you will note that there is still a lot of direct sunlight heating in the main room... This thing has the potential to be a greenhouse in the Summer. That looks like a computer graphic, and the \"real\" photo looks like the solar panels may extend a bit further forward, blocking more direct sunlight than the graphic alludes.

Otherwise, a pleasant looking beach vacation home.

Matt Rings

Very much like a design from Jacque Fresco from The Venus Project. Check it out!...

Georgina Quiñones

Still nothing compared to the monolithic dome structures of

Nice variation in design though. Could be useful in non-earthquake, tornado and hurricane zones of the world.

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