The Dover Sun House. The 1948 Experiment for Solar Power


When a family of three moved into the newly built Dover Sun House in 1948, it was more than a home, it was an experiment. No one had ever tried to survive a frigid New England winter in a house heated by nothing but the sun.

The Dover Sun House in Dover, Massachusetts, was a passive solar house designed by the architect Eleanor Raymond and built in 1948. It was an experimental project that used solar heating, something fairly innovative for its time. The project was funded by Boston heiress and sculptor Amelia Peabody. The engineer Dr. Maria Telkes, who worked at MIT, designed the heating system, which used Glauber’s salt, a type of salt that stores heat, to absorb and slowly release the solar energy captured during the day.