Full Revolution Farm Initial Design Considerations Part 1


We will be presenting the design development decisions for the Full Revolution Farm a Positive Net Energy Passive House Project the First Commercial Hospitality Passive House Project.  Follow the design development into construction as we move forward with this project over the next 6 months.



Project; Full Revolution Farm Initial Design Considerations Part 1


Project Intent; Passive House, Design Build, self sufficient Bed and Breakfast

Project Team; Eco Smart Building LLC – Land Plan, Programming, Architecture, MEP,      

                        PHI Certification, Energy Star Version 3 Certification, and submission to    

                        the BuildingAmericaProgram.


Project Intent;


To be positive net energy in the best case and net zero in the worse case; Passive House building design withthePassive House International asthecertification body, additional design requirements are Energy Star Version 3 and Building America Version 2.


Renewable Energy Options Considered for the Project;


On site Renewable Energy considerations fortheproject are as follows; passive solar, solarthermal, photovoltaic, small wind/community wind, ground coupled geothermal system, air to air, water to water, and air to water heat pump, on site biogas generation, andthermally active transfer.


Iowa Geothermal best management practices http://www.iowadnr.gov/epc/09may/12.pdf 

Iowawell water and geothermal drilling http://www.iowadnr.gov/water/npdes/gp6.html 


On site biogas generation information, can be found in the book Ultimate Fire Digester


Programming land plan;


Site Topography;


There are currently two lots that have naturally occurring high spots which arethebuildable spaces forthelots.  The site has a natural flow for other storm water and I would suggest that it be maintained or enhanced inthedevelopment ofthesuite.


Existing trees onthesite are alongthenaturally occurring swale onthenorth end ofthesite and an old fence row.  The intent is to incorporate as many oftheexisting features intothenew site plan. 


Utility connections and easements;


There is currently no natural gas, electric or low voltage service totheproposed building sites.  Other buildings inthesubdivision are using LP for natural gas,theelectric, cable, and phone provider needs to be contacted for connection location, cost and timing forthese services.  All electric, cable and phone are trenched intheother subdivisions.


Municipal connections;


Currentlythecity is installing a municipal water and waste water system tothesubdivision.  There needs to be follow up withthebuilding and or engineering departments and or streets and sanitation onthesite requirements for connection location, cost and timing.  


Utility and municipal connections should be coordinated withthedevelopment ofthedrive easement intothetwo sites.


Storm water management;


Site Storm Water Management

There is a natural bio-swale onthenorth side ofthelots that runs northwest to Southeast, site drainage should be maintained or enhanced to direct water totheexisting natural swale, this could includetheuse of culverts undertheproposed drive to work withtheexisting sit drainage.  At this time it is unknown iftheexist swale has flowing water.

IowaInformation http://www.intrans.iastate.edu/pubs/stormwater/index.cfm 



Drive, parking, turnarounds traffic surfaces are Asphalt Paving -swale to catchment along all hardscape a final collection point will require a Perk test to determine permeability additional information can be found at http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/naturalresources/DD0583.html 


Plantings heights to be reviewed withtheState and Municipal code limits.  Native plants and no-mow space is preferred, trees are a preferred planting material for all hardscape to limit heat island.


Roof Drainage – Main House and attached Garage direct storm water to a gray water Cistern with an over flow leach field TBD.  Out buildings and additional hardscape storm and blackwater drainage TBD depending on building location, municipal, and county code requirements.


Black and Gray water systems;


Black water – Clivius Multrum is thepreferred treatment system for thesite, themanufacture also has a gray water system.  Additional information http://www.clivusmultrum.com/what-we-do.php  I have requestedthe design requirements for black and gray water systems.


Secondary plan – Ifthelocal municipality will not approvetheClivius Multrum system, we should review septic system requirements for both gray and black water systems.  My concern is that fromthesoils report thattheclay soil is two dense for proper drainage andthefield will need to be redesigned increasing cost.  Exploring on site biological treatment requirements and wet land generation for treatment can be accomplished in heavy clay soils.


We will have additional information fromthelocal municipality on timing, cost, and building code requirements where we can do a cost benefit analysis.



Landscape Windbreaks





Current Buildings/structures on the site;


House/B&B attached 3 1/2 car garage

            Household trash storage and recycling


Out Buildings maximum combined sq. ft. is 3,000 per building code requirements

Pole building

            Large storage/animal barn, pole barn

Dairy/cow shelter – house, etc

Equipment storage – small tractor

Hay/other storage


Green house – attached 15’ x 20’

Mobile chicken coops & yard 6’ x 12’

            Square foot/chicken

Large animal pen/paddock

Orchard fenced in


Compost bin location – close to animal housing, 3 bin enclosed size to be determined depending onthetype of animals on site as well as garden location

Additional information http://ag.arizona.edu/animalwaste/awcompost.html 

Composting yard waste http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07212.html 

Composting requirements http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/composting.htm 

Home composting http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/building.html 


State ofIowaPlant Program

Iowaplants http://www.iowadnr.gov/forestry/files/10catalog.pdf 

1 comment

  1. Hi There Ecosmartbuilding,
    I was wondering on a similar note,, Flooring concrete countertops is possible to do as it create beautiful and practical value of any versatile material. Home designers everywhere will ask about their chance to reinvent the rooms with the creative use of different kind of materials.
    Nice One!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: