POCO Solar Blog

Can you install solar on an Eichler roof? by Guest Blogger Matt at ChoiceRoofs.com


What is an Eichler home? Eichler homes were mass designed and built in California starting from the 1950s, after the World War II, and continuing into the 60s and 70s. The man behind them was a real estate developer Joseph Eichler. He was an advocate of modern architecture and efficient building with minimal costs. He wanted to bring modernism in architecture to the masses, and make it available and affordable to everyone. He was also among the first to employ architects as well as to introduce concepts such as urban or neighborhood planning.

His homes were examples of modernist architecture, which he was striving to bring to the general public. He insisted on making his homes affordable to anyone and that’s why he urged his architects to reduce the materials and construction costs as much as they could without taking away the quality of it. He drew his inspiration from Frank Lloyd Right and his clean lines, the use of natural light, and many modern architectural ideas.

Eichler played with the concept of “bringing the outside in,” so he made floor-to-ceiling walls and windows in his houses, with the goal of using as much natural light as possible, had open floor plans with atriums, incorporated a post-and-beam construction style. Most utilized radiant heating, plywood siding, and flat of low slope roofs and no attics.

Solar on an Eichler roof? When it comes to the roofs of Eichler homes, they can be made of all kinds of different material, depending on the owner’s preferences and possibilities. The problem is that they are originally not very well insulated nor energy efficient. The insulation under them is very thin, so many Eichler homeowners decide on upgrading and modernizing them with foam insulation, which helps with the energy and cost savings.

A step further in energy efficient living is to consider solar energy and solar roof possibilities. To answer the question – yes, it is possible to have a solar Eichler roof. But there are some important things to consider and to prepare for in the process. Installing solar on an Eichler roof is a possible but a complicated job to take on.

First thing to consider is the wiring. With Eichler, nearly all electrical wiring is on the roof, and possibly some of the plumbing. So whether you are insulating, re-roofing, upgrading your roof or installing solar panels, keep in mind that you might come across some wiring. You should, of course, consult with experts and try to find those that have experience with flat roofs and installing solar panels on them.

Flat, Eichler roofs, on the other hand, can be ideal for solar panels for a number of reasons. First of all, since it is a flat, and not a sloped roof, the whole process of installation is much easier for the workers. They can move around freely and more easily, and it is less dangerous. Second of all, it is easier to install them because they don’t have to hang, so to speak, as on sloped roofs. Last but not least, you don’t have to worry about the direction your house is facing. Since the roof is flat, the panels can easily be installed to face whichever direction in order to collect the sunlight most efficiently and for a long period of time.


Article By Matt @ Choice Roofs