Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MIT Libraries logo MIT Libraries

Search Account

MIT Buildings: Solar I

Bibliography

Solar I

Solar I, completed in 1939, was the first house in America to be heated by the sun's energy. It was an experimental lab, a single story house-like structure containing two rooms, designed by Professor Hoyt C. Hottel on the present site of building 36 [see MIT map].

 

Solar I used solar radiation as a heat source for the winter. Projects were conducted on summer air conditioning and power generation. To heat the building, a sun heat trap tilted at a 30 degree angle was placed on the roof under three layers of glass.

 

The bottom of the box was fitted with a sheet of copper painted black, under which tubes ran. Water circulated through these tubes and then ran down into a metal tank located in the basement.