Zomeworks Corporation, currently a leader in the field of Passive Solar Energy products, was incorporated in 1969. The focus was on the building of Zomes – dome shaped zonohedra living spaces; in New Mexico, Colorado, California and beyond. We also built Zome playground climbers and even a Gibbon Flight Cage for the Albuquerque zoo. The 31-Zone Structural System, a space frame system for which we were awarded a patent, was developed into a modeling kit, made of specialized plastic ball joints and different sized sticks sold as the Zometoy. In the 1980s this structural system was discovered in nature as Quasicrystals by John Cahn and other scientists at the National Institute of Standards, who purchased Zomeworks modeling kits and the Zome Primer which describes the mathematics of the system. The manufacture of the Zometoy modeling system was licensed to Zometool, Inc (formerly Biocrystals, Inc.) in Colorado who made improvements and currently manufactures and markets the kit as Zometool®.
During the ‘70s Zomeworks developed a number of products for architectural sun control; Skylid® insulated self-operating louvers, Beadwall™ moveable insulation, Sunbender® reflector shades, as well as passive solar water heaters such as Big Fin™ absorbers and Bread Box batch water heaters. The company also experimented with passive solar heating such as air loop rock storage systems and drum walls. The oil crisis brought many customers looking for ways to reduce their energy bills. Tax credits and subsidy frenzy followed. When the tax credits expired and oil prices came down, the public lost interest in energy conservation. Many installations of these systems are still in use today and Sunbenders are still available from Zomeworks.
The ‘80s brought photovoltaics from use exclusively in satellites in space to applications on Earth and they began to sell immediately. Zomeworks developed the Track Rack™ passive solar tracker for photovoltaics and began selling them to those who lived off-grid. The tracker (which operates with a shifting weight of refrigerant, as did the Skylids) continues to be the most popular Zomeworks product. Many thousands of trackers are operating around the world – turning to the sun each morning and following it throughout the day increasing the yield of photovoltaic panels for such jobs as water pumping.
In the early ‘90s, as the solar business expanded, Zomeworks developed the Cool Cell® temperature regulating enclosure, to protect and extend the life of batteries used with photovoltaic systems. The solar community wasn’t ready, but the Telecommunications industry, just beginning to move out of centralized hubs in insulated buildings to remote sites where batteries were used to provide power, enthusiastically welcomed the Cool Cell solution to stand-by battery storage. For several years Cool Cell sales made up 70% of Zomeworks sales. Business ebbed dramatically when the dot com bubble burst and following the demise of Enron. Recently Cool Cell sales have picked up considerably as some of the Utilities and Telecommunications companies have come to appreciate their reliability compared to electronically controlled cabinets.
Also in the ‘90s President Steve Baer began working on a new way to heat and cool buildings without outside power. Years of experimentation with waste IV plastic bottles, and other containers of water for thermal mass began at Zomeworks. The Andy Shack, in the Zomeworks yard, has received many makeovers over the years as a structure on which to hang one system after another. Most worked, but each new one was an improvement. Finally in 2007, the company began the construction of the two Double Play Dave Houses with Swiss made absorbers on the south facing walls for winter heating and the Snap Cap™ metal collector roof for summer cooling.
Steve Baer, Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Director of Research:
Steve studied mathematics and physics at Amherst College and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). No degrees. He has been awarded many patents in the fields of structures, engines, passive controls and energy conservation products. Steve and Holly have lived in their passively solar heated cluster of Zomes (rhombic dodecahedra), with Drum Walls, Skylids® and Sunbenders® near Albuquerque since 1970. Steve continues to work on new innovative products.
David Harrison, Cool Cell Manager
Dave received a BA in Architecture from the University of New Mexico and is a building contractor. He specializes in inventing and developing products for market. Dave created Beadwall moveable insulation, one of Zomeworks best known products. Dave came to Zomeworks in the ‘70s while a student and worked for several years before leaving to build houses full time as a contractor. He returned to Zomeworks in 1992 to work on design and application of the Cool Cells® for the telecommunications industry. All Cool Cell orders pass over Dave’s desk. Dave has invented or been co-inventor of several of Zomeworks products. He designed and built the Double Play test buildings.
Holiday Baer, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer and Director of Administration
Holly is in charge of Shareholder correspondence, stock transactions, prepares financial statements and oversees the office. Holly’s prudence and reliability has kept the business alive through droughts that killed others. Holly also edits most company literature and has proven with what she has learned we rarely need legal help.
David Nevin, Operations Manager
Dave was raised in Superior, Wisconsin where he spent much of his time in his father’s welding shop. Welding is second nature to Dave; he “struck his first arc” when he was seven years old. Dave has worked in welding and metal fabrication shops around the country at various levels of management. His knowledge of tools, metal working equipment and work flow have increased efficiency and production capacity since his arrival in the fall of 2007. Dave is also quick to see how to solve a problem when working on a new product.
Lead welder Danny Ray, who joined Zomeworks in 1987 and lead sheet metal worker Linh Pham act as co-foremen under Dave Nevin and help to keep the Tracker and Cool Cell crews running smoothly. Tool maker and shop safety man Kent Johnson’s keen insights are depended upon for all products. Kent also began his career at Zomeworks in 1987.
Sandra Lewis, Accounting Manager
Sandra keeps track of all data entry, personnel information, payroll and inventory control – time sheets, packing lists and bills of materials all cross Sandra’s desk. Have a question? Ask Sandra.
Andrea Sarracino, Office Manager
Andrea is the voice familiar to all customers and vendors. She is in charge of purchasing and invoicing, coordinates with drafting and makes sure all shipments are labeled correctly and is administrative assistant to the president. As our Network and Website Administrator, Andrea is the company IT expert.
Research and development and product improvement is on-going at Zomeworks. New applications for the Double Play System will be tested and a new passive tracking mechanism is in the works as is a new batch solar water heater. Steve Baer determines which projects have what priority and monitors their progress.
Note: Credit must be given to Russell Benner, Project Manager Double Play systems, BA Physics Brown University 2006, who has been in charge of the construction of the Double Play Snap Cap heating and cooling system on the Double test buildings. Russ performed the temperature checks on the buildings, produced the graphs and kept a written log noting weather changes, traffic in and out of the buildings and other influences on the performance of the buildings until mid-March 2008. See Snap Cap Notes on home page. Russ is traveling in Mexico and South America and will continue to do some work for Zomeworks on-line.