Only photos and the blueprints remainI visited Dr. Löf at the house just a few months before his death. He was bright, and we had a long conversation.He gave me the original set of blueprints to the house, and I suspect, sadly, that he recognized that the drawings wouldn’t be needed by the next owners of the property. In the 1970s, the George Löf house was frequently hailed for having the oldest continuously operating active solar heating system in the world. Löf lived in the home until his death in October 2009 at the age of 95. (For more information on George Löf, see my book, The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design, or George Löf: Denver’s Solar Pioneer. A February 1958 magazine article on the George Löf house is available online: “Will Your Next House Get Its Heat from the Sun?”) RELATED ARTICLES Solar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old DebateForgotten Pioneers of Energy EfficiencyThe History of Superinsulated Houses in North AmericaShades of Green: the 1970s vs. the Millennial Generation Present at the creationNobody played a more enduring role in the 20th-century solar house movement than George Löf. He was present at the creation, so to speak, having been a student of Hoyt Hottel when Hottel built the first-ever “active” solar thermal house at MIT in 1939. In 1945, Löf built the first active solar air system, a precursor to the system installed in the Denver house. He would remain active in the field for decades, and served a term as president of the International Solar Energy Society. A tear-downPrior to the demolition, the Löf house was in original condition, including the flat-plate solar collectors (air heaters) on the roof. It had hardly been touched since its construction 57 years ago: not even a coat of paint in my estimation. Image #2 (below) shows how the Löf house looked when I visited it in September 2011.At that time (two years after Löf’s death), the house was vacant and for sale. Because of the large size of the lot, the condition of the house, and the (wealthy) neighborhood, it was predictable that the house would be purchased as a tear-down. At that time I contacted the realtor and local preservation groups to make sure that the house’s importance was understood, but obviously to no avail.As I document and discuss in great detail in my book, the Löf house was remarkable for its technical innovation and for the sympathetic relationship between the architects (James Hunter of Boulder, assisted by Tician Papachristou) and the engineer (Löf). The design was celebrated by the New York Times for its heating system and Hunter’s “modern lines.”The rooftop collectors, still in place in 2011 and just barely visible behind plywood screens, produced hot air which could be sent straight to the rooms of the house or to gravel tubes that were used to store the heat. The sympathy between architecture and engineering was expressed most beautifully by Hunter’s decision to place the cardboard tubes near the staircase in the center of the house, visible from the entrance, and to paint them bright red. (And in a wonderfully poetic contrast he formed a concrete chimney from the same type of cardboard tube, and painted the chimney a cool blue.) Here is some sad but not surprising news: the George Löf house — one of the seminal buildings in the history of the solar house and certainly a modernist landmark worthy of protection and preservation — was recently destroyed. I visited the Denver site earlier this year and found a large excavation and a foundation (presumably) for a McMansion.Most of us associate the term “solar house” with the 1973 energy crisis. But the feasibility of solar houses in the 1970s would have been impossible without the earlier exploratory work by pioneers such as George Löf. The house Löf built for himself in Denver, in 1955-56, was a seminal experiment in solar heating, using an innovative system of rooftop collectors, solar-heated air, and gravel storage. It “became a model for emerging solar home heating systems and attracted engineers from around the world,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Anthony Denzer teaches architectural engineering at the University of Wyoming and is the author of The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design.
Story Highlights The Government has hailed the success of the World Bank-funded Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), which was implemented locally by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) from January 2010 to July 2017.The US$15 million programme, which was pivotal in facilitating improved market access for micro and small-scale rural agricultural producers and tourism projects, was geared towards reducing poverty by increasing potential earning opportunities for persons, particularly in rural communities.Speaking at the recent closing ceremony/symposium for the REDI project at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the partnership facilitating the initiative’s implementation has resulted in effective and meaningful changes in the beneficiaries’ communities.He noted that REDI “falls in tandem with the Government’s commitment to move the nation from a state of dependence on lower forms of capital, to creating the environment where higher forms of capital are achieved, especially through entrepreneurship.”The Minister pointed out that through the introduction of technologies and accompanying training in their usage, persons in rural areas have been empowered to utilise their skills and talents to gain financially while embracing and promoting Jamaica’s culture.Dr. Chang said the REDI project’s focus on assisting farmers develop and earn from their activities was one of the initiative’s most notable inputs.Additionally, he said investments facilitated in rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation systems, among other agricultural developments, have assisted in boosting production, resulting in significant income generation that will ultimately redound to the benefit of Jamaica’s economic growth agenda.“This is in line with our Vision 2030 mission which is to create an environment and engage initiatives to strengthen critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism (in order) to (set) the country on a stable path to economic growth,” the Minister underscored.Dr. Chang said JSIF’s piloting of the REDI project has helped the country to move closer to achieving its development goals by “facilitating the strengthening of the supply chain linkages between the agricultural sector and end users in processing, tourism, fast food chains, restaurants and supermarkets, and families.”He further noted that the REDI project has supported the development of community-based tourism as a viable option and opportunity for economic investment.“The project has certainly strengthened the capacity of rural groups to be able to plan and implement income-generating projects, (thereby) ensuring greater sustainability of rural development through inter -agency collaboration,” he added.Dr. Chang further pointed out that two of the main guiding principles of the Vision 2030 Jamaica- National Development Plan, sustainability and partnerships – have been evident in the initiative.For this reason he said “the Government is keen to continue supporting and endorsing projects, such as REDI, which has made a valuable impact in rural communities and the country.” Speaking at the recent closing ceremony/symposium for the REDI project at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the partnership facilitating the initiative’s implementation has resulted in effective and meaningful changes in the beneficiaries communities. The Government has hailed the success of the World Bank-funded Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), which was implemented locally by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) from January 2010 to July 2017. Dr. Chang said the REDI project’s focus on assisting farmers develop and earn from their activities was one of the initiative’s most notable inputs.