Sanctuary Facility

NOTE: This topic list is also a very rough draft with no links yet to any topic pages.

Topic Index:


  • North, East and West outer walls
  • South facing glass wall
  • Interior walls
  • Convective Roof


  • Plumbing and wiring (Electrical, water, drains, network cabling, compressed air, central vacuum, and possibly low-pressure liquid air lines)
  • Indirect LED Lighting
  • Fire Safety

Spaces Designed For Cats:

  • Veterinary Examination Room
  • Veterinary Isolation Rooms
  • Veterinary Surgery
  • Living Rooms (quiet rooms for visiting with the cats)
  • Playrooms (noisy rooms containing playground equipment, interesting cat spaces and attention grabbing elements)
  • Common Areas (no south wall separating it from the hall)
  • Hall Areas

Spaces Designed For People:

  • Studio Apartments (with sink, microwave and small fridge/freezer drawers of some kind)
  • Combination Storage/Walk-in Closet Rooms for each studio apartment
  • Bathrooms (with wheelchair accessible amenities)
  • Large Kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Utility and Storage Rooms
  • Office
  • Library

Design Goals:

From what I’ve observed, home manufacturers design their products first for profit, then for people, and pets are at most a distant afterthought. The sanctuary facilities designed by this project will essentially be the reverse. They will be designed first for cats, then for live-in volunteers/staff, and not for profit.

All the custom, sanctuary and cat-specific equipment will be designed similarly. Rather than be built to fit conveniently inside the average house, made to look appealing to a target market and designed to fail after a specific period, they will instead be designed to last, be easy to maintain and be very inexpensive to build. As a result, they will likely appear quite unsightly and not fit well in the average home. In fact, some of them, such as the composting litter box units, will not fit at all.

Because this project is starting from scratch, it has the opportunity to design facilities around all this custom, industrial-strength equipment. Each facility itself could be thought of as one giant piece of equipment, encompassing all the rest and creating an environment conducive to feline health and well being.

By utilizing natural building methods and a climate-appropriate combination of zero-energy, passive solar and geo-solar techniques, This project should be able to design much less expensive and less energy dependent structures. And by incorporating solar energy systems and efficient recycling techniques, these facilities should be capable of meeting their own utility requirements as well.

Once completed, these sanctuaries will not resemble a typical building. But I’m fairly certain that the rescued cats who end up living there won’t care at all. They will just be glad to have a loving home.

Energy Mottos:

For temperature control of the facility’s living spaces, this project’s motto should be “earth first, sun second, high-tech third.” This means that the effects of both daily and annual fluctuations in outside temperature should first be minimized by the stabilizing properties of thermal mass, then further reduced through passive-solar techniques (and possibly annualized geo-solar techniques as well, which use both the earth and sun), and finally, forcibly modified through technology, hopefully solar-powered if possible.

By skillfully combining various ancient, low-impact techniques (such as the cool tube, solar chimney and pit greenhouse) with advancements in modern science and technology (such as the solar concentrator, sterling engine and absorption chiller) these facilities could end up very comfortable and energy rich.

In the arid southwest it might be helpful to also adopt this motto. “Whenever the sun creates a need for cooing, use the sun to do the cooling.” This is one of my motivations for wanting to create a variable-intensity, multi-functional solar concentrator to drive an absorption chiller among other things.

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