The Scorup property we all live on in Bluff has a groovy detached bath house to supplement the showers in the main house.
It has also become the de facto bike storage and maintenance shop. The only thing missing was some hot water for the pipes (not that we need it right now). Brett and I spent a day at the beginning of our 1st session in Bluff cobbling together a direct-gain solar thermal hot water system out of material we had laying around the site. A black steel tank (the remnants of an old hot water heater, i think) serves as both storage and collector. We built a plywood box around the tank, with glazing on the south facing side. The box is lined with tin foil to help reflect as much radiation to the black tank. The plywood box is wrapped in straw bales to help insulate the whole system. As temperatures begin to drop this fall, we may come up with an insulative cover for the glazing, to be used during the night to prevent excess heat loss. We plumbed the tank directly into the hot water main in the bath house. Cold water goes from the bath house to the black tank. It is then heated and stored in the tank until it is needed inside.