Consulting and Design

Gimme Shelter offers consulting and design for all phases of residential construction.  We’ve been designing and building energy efficient passive solar homes for over 25 years and can do site analysis, initial conceptual drawings, or detailed design and construction drawings for projects throughout the upper Midwest.

We can advise you on sustainable materials, design elements, and options for renewable energy systems to reduce fossil fuel use. By looking carefully at your site, we can design your home to take advantage of your land’s specific characteristics and site your home to take advantage of the sun’s heating capabilities.

Passive solar design principles can be applied to many different architectural styles, and we excel at combining our clients’ aesthetic wishes with extraordinary technical performance.  We focus on creating high-quality, layered spaces that often result in a smaller square footage home of greater comfort and quality.

We recommend reading A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, et.al for a good guide to the design process. These design principles have been further expanded by Sarah Susanka in The Not So Big House and  Max Jacobson et.al. in Patterns of the Home.

New Design Tools at Gimme Shelter Construction

Passive House Planning Package Software (PHPP):  developed by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) is an exciting and detailed tool that yields very accurate results for energy efficiency analysis for all elements of home construction.

The Passive House Software offers improved tools for modeling energy consumption in new homes and renovations.  Detailed analysis accounts for many factors like:

  • Local temperatures and solar radiation.
  • Solar gain and heat loss through windows.
  • Heat loss to outside air or ground through:  window frames, doors, and walls of any style of construction.
  • Includes calculation of True R-values accounting for insulation properties of studs, wallboard and other wall materials.
  • The new PHPP 2007 incorporates cooling loads into its calculations.