Solar Energy Innovation, 1970s (gallery)

  • "Home of architect Richard Crowther, that is heated with solar energy collected by flat plate collectors. A flat black aluminum plate behind the glass absorbs sunlight and heats air forced between the glass and the black plate. The air is then forced through a bin containing several tons of two inch sized rocks, that store the heat. Because of extra special insulating features of this home, the solar heating system provides almost 90 percent of the heat needed," May, 1975.
  • Solar heating and cooling demonstration project, which is funded by the national project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation," May, 1975.
  • "Zome house using solar heating built near Corrales, New Mexico. The modular interconnected units are hexagon shaped with polyhedra roofs. Aluminum construction has an inner core of urethane foam for insulating efficiency. Glass walls covered at night pass sunlight to heat blackened 55-gallon drums filled with water," April, 1974.
  • "Den of a modular solar-heated house built near Corrales New Mexico, made of interconnected units of aluminum with a urethane foam core of insulation. Drums in the background are filled with water and retain the sun's heat," April,1974.
  • "Close up of a solar heating panel in a modular house built near Corrales, New Mexico. Closed at night, the panel is dropped during the day to allow sunlight to pass through the glass and heat blackened 55-gallon drums filled with water," April, 1974
  • "Closeup of an experimental solar heating flat plate collector using bonded honeycomb material for an air heating system," May, 1975

In the mid-1970s, high oil prices and fears of energy scarcity spurred experimental home construction and new efforts to use the sun’s rays to generate heat and electricity.¬†EPA photographers documented many of these innovative solar structures. Some hewed closely to traditional building design, while others presented dramatically new forms of construction.