1979 - Volume #3, Issue #6, Page #27[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Solar Home Boasts Built-In Log Cabin
Robert and Connie Trussel grew tired of the "plastic trim new homes" of various previous residences in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. They decided they wanted "an old, basic farm house made of wood and iron." The house they purchased is south of New Market on what was the Pete Eischens' farm. "It was advertised as having an original log cabin as part of the house," said Connie.
The Trussels bought the old farmhouse, built in 1901, and 90 acres of the farm. The log cabin, the Trussels explained, is about 130 years old and had been used as a house, then was moved off the site for use as a smoke house, and finally brought back as an additional room in the present structure.
Trussel, who operates a hog farrowing operation on the farm, has constructed solar panels on the south wall of the room they built around the log cabin portion of the house. Mrs. Trussel said that after renovating and restoring the log cabin they enjoyed the rustic comfort of that area but it was too cold to use in the winter. Since they needed room for a larger kitchen anyway, they built a structural addition to the house enclosing the log cabin.
In effect, the log cabin now "floats as an independent room inside a room." By design, Connie now has a larger kitchen on the north and west sides of the log cabin and a garden room on the south side. The south wall is Robert's solar heating project.
Trussel installed 450 square feet of solar panels with active collectors to control the heat. He said he tested various absorber plates and decided to use mostly his own design.
Last year the Trussels spent $600 at last year's prices to heat their home. They hope to save, at this year's prices, about $500.
The solar heated house with a 12'x14' log cabin inside is certainly a conversation piece, and as Connie said, "It certainly is different." Reprinted with permission from This Week News, published by the Dakota County Tribune, Farmington, Minn.
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