Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Committee Member

Alfredo Fernandez-Gonzalez

Second Committee Member

Daniel H. Ortega

Third Committee Member

Joshua Vermillion

Fourth Committee Member

Robert F. Boehm

Number of Pages



Through the implementation of passive solar building systems, suburbia could take a fresh new step forward toward a progressively more sustainable direction. Making passive solar strategies a priority, master planned community developments would see opportunity to change the style and design of future suburban residences.

The focus and intention of this body of work is to research, design, fabricate, and test a prototype of a passive solar heating device using water as the medium for thermal storage. The size and shape of the design for the water wall device will be determined by the currently built suburban environment; however, for testing purposes, some dimension alterations will be made for fitting the device into the already existing UNLV test pods located in the back yard of the School of Architecture.

Another aspect to this body of work includes a Las Vegas suburban tract home solar access market study. By analyzing ten test case homes in the Las Vegas valley, existing solar access patterns will be measured within the existing residential built environment. These patterns should help to determine if there are legitimate opportunities for implementation of water wall installation to passively reduce energy consumption of non-renewable resources.

The study concluded that opportunities exist on a fairly regular basis. Locations of these opportunities were on the south facing walls of the second stories, walls on the ground level if there is a one story neighboring home and some backyards facing south with reasonable solar access. By knowing there are opportunities in the market place for water wall installation, retrofits for currently built residences become an option. This expands the market far past customizing a home specifically for this type of passive solar strategy. It also creates more value with conducting an experiment that measures the performance of this type of device, because the potential impact of its implementation into the market place will increase along with a higher number of potential retrofit scenarios. It is possible to make the built suburban environment more sustainable than it already is with passive solar strategies.


Building orientation; City planning; Energy consumption; Master planning; Nevada – Las Vegas Valley; Solar access; Solar energy – Passive systems; Solar houses; Suburbs; Sustainability; Thermal massing


Architectural Engineering | Architecture | Environmental Design | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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