The story of the creation of
Solar Haven

First we purchased four acres in the Sonoran Desert foothills west of Tucson, Arizona.
There was no house and also no road or water or power, but incomparable
natural beauty and peacefulness.

"On a clear day you can see forever..."


The first steps were to grade in a road, dig a septic system, and move in a mobile home as a temporary residence. Then we began working toward converting the mobile home into an energy efficient, attractive, and comfortable place to live.

We added...

- extra insulation to all the outside walls, the roof, and underneath the floors.
then we had the place completely stuccoed.
- we also built a front deck, carport, and storage shed...

- details of the insulating and stuccoing project -

- the polyurethane roofing project -

At the same time...
we worked toward independence from conventional utilities...
(err... it would have been better had we not tried to do these projects all at the same time),

Solar Electric (PV) System

Wind Generator

Rain Water Harvesting


Solar Hot Water and Hydronic Heating System

"Yikes, here comes a bunch of materials to build a

("Who planned all these projects anyway?!")

A grand greenhouse emerges from the desert...
("It didn't look that big in the drawing...")

After two years of...
- blood
(the usual cuts and scratches),
- sweat (golly gee, it really does get hot in the desert),
- and tears (of exhaustion and frustration and of joy),
we begin construction on a new and permanent home.

Built of bales of straw...

Click HERE for pictures of all phases of construction including:

- design details
- floor plan diagram
- a complete budget of what the house has cost


Perhaps the best part of all ...
was the remarkable beauty of our
Sonoran Desert home.

- killer views -

So many interesting neighbors

introduced themselves.

- Sonoran Desert wildlife -

(how it all lays out on the ground)

PHASE 1: research - planning - buying land
PHASE 2: building our house - working toward energy independence
PHASE 3: organic gardening - raising animals
(for eggs and perhaps for milk, for the valuable manure to use in the garden, and for companionship but not to kill and eat)

To the special folks who have helped with Solar Haven:

Ann and Ron Serandos, Joanie McNiece, Rick Frazier, Warren Luzon at "Northern Arizona Wind and Sun", Rod Hyatt at "In Hot Water and Heating", John, Marilyn, Jason, Art and Katherine, Dennis Williams, Tina Monaghan, Rette and Rick, Lyndol, Shay, Christine, Ben and Maria, Kristen and Shannon, Paula Young, Manadeva, Mike McWilliams, Zack and Liz, Yoshi, Marsha and Sarina, Paul Huddy, Michael, Tom, Janna, and Annette, Loreen, Wil and Mai, Clay Springer, Jan and Dee, Kara, Sam and Cassandra, Ajay and Bev Sutton, Amber, Steve, Ken, Owen, Penelope, Charlie, Trish, Jordan, Josee, Dan, and Simon

- pictures of our voluteers -


- Back to Solar Haven Main Page -

© 2000-2013 by Jim Phypers