Innovative Rancho Santa Fe resident calls new design for hybrid home ‘above green’


By Kathy Day

RSF’s Chuck Bahde spent part of his career designing interiors of airplanes. Today the Rancho Santa Fe man is perfecting a design for what he calls a “hybrid home.”

“It’s not just green – it’s above green,” he said in a recent phone interview.

The earlier model, that he called Solar +, grew out of a sculpture. Now he has added two more models that take off on his idea of a self-sustainable, small house. The initial design was trapezoidal; the new ones are nearly square and triangular.

While he’s not prepared to scale up the project or build it on his 5-acre property that has come to be known for its drought-tolerant landscape and his sculptures, he said he is “merely creating it to interest architects, environmentalists and engineers to give them an incentive.”

The dollhouse-size mock-ups consist of panels for the sidewalls and roof that would be prefabricated in 4-by-8-foot sections, and then joined on site with a seal and locking system, he noted. All of the materials he proposes using are “from spacecraft, airplanes and cars” or recycled.

Glass walls facilitate solar heating and privacy panels would be installed around the bathrooms. He’s also created a garden plot for the roof that would help with cooling. If there is no sun for long periods, there are back-up lithium batteries or a “turbo-telescopic windmill” on the roof.

“They are designed for small sites for active people that don’t want maintenance issues,” said the octogenarian who has also worked in advertising and public relations. But if someone wants a larger model they can add more pods, taking into consideration the concept is for a small site so he recommends not going larger than 900 square feet.

He said he thinking of how people would live in the future inspired the design and seems to have covered all the bases a homeowner might want. He has ideas for complete central security, roof collectors for recycling gray water, and temperature and water controls for the garden.

Bahde said that while he should patent the idea, he just doesn’t have the time to go through the process.

“My time is getting shorter,” he said with a chuckle.

People have copied his ideas in the past, he said. “I’m encouraging them to copy this one.”

As for the next steps on this project: “There are no more steps. I’m involved in my art pieces now.”