Green Architecture, also known as Sustainable Architecture, and sometimes called green construction, or sustainable building, is the product of designing and constructing buildings in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible, and financially profitable.
Green Architecture addresses all the concerns of any other architectural design project—the budget must be met, the building must be completed on time, and the program requirements must be delivered. Also, the needs of the occupants must be satisfied; occupants must be comfortable, indoor air must be refreshed, and the indoor environment must be a place where occupants want to live and work. The building must be built in a way the benefits the planet; less water, resources, and energy must be consumed to build and operate the building, the building should be located where transit is available, and the project should be built to durable, lasting a long time to make good use of the resources the building consumes.
Doing Green/Sustainable Architecture is the focus of HABITATION SOLUTIONS. HABITATION SOLUTIONS strives to design homes and buildings that are energy, water, and resource efficient, and are attractive, functional, and comfortable places for people to live and work.
Green/Sustainable Architecture can be accomplished by integrating effective passive solar design, good day-lighting, an exceptional building envelope, and a well-designed mechanical system into the design of the building. Many other features, such as on-site renewable energy systems, also contribute to Green/Sustainable Architecture.
A wide variety of programs—such as Energy Star, LEED, and Passive House—are available. Implementation of these programs can contribute to Green/Sustainable Architecture. HABITATION SOLUTIONS is either very knowledgeable or certified in all of these programs.
HABITATION SOLUTIONS has experience in Green/Sustainable Architecture. The following case-studies depict the experience.
Home in the Foothills
This home is designed to have a comfortable, healthful interior, use very few resources, take advantage of a beautiful site, and be a wonderful place to live.
The home sits on a 35 acre site with rolling terrain, many trees, ample open space, and wonderful views. The site slopes slightly across the house, providing enough flat area for outside activities and enough fall to allow light into the lower level.
The house is positioned on the site to maximize solar-exposure. Most of the windows face south, sunlight is utilized to light and heat the house. The building is extra-ordinarily well built, with excellent insulation and air-sealing, resulting in low demand for heating.
The home uses 15% of the energy as an average home; it is heated and powered using a masonry heater, a photovoltaic system and a solar thermal system. The photovoltaic system is attached to the grid; net metering is employed.
Indoor air quality is improved using Environmentally Friendly Products. No urea-formaldehyde and small amounts of VOC are found in these products. Low VOC products in the house consist of paint, stains, sealants, carpet and carpet pad. Materials containing no urea-formaldehyde resins consist of cabinets, wood flooring, doors and trim, and furniture.
Habitat for Humanity House
The duplex is a handsome, affordable home; providing owners ease of maintenance, low operating costs and a comfortable, healthful environment in which to live. All spaces as required by the program are provided.
Main living spaces are located on the upper level to meet the constraints of the site and give the greatest access to natural light—a clerestory provides light from above. Also, better views from the main living spaces and greater visibility of the entrance from the street are provided. Since the lower level is partially below ground, a light well is provided.
The duplex is designed to meet the goals of Architecture 2030. The strategy to meet these goals consists of employing passive solar design with day-lighting; constructing a well-built home with good insulation, air sealing, and efficient mechanical systems; and incorporating on-site renewable energy.
Axis—The house is a rectangular shape, with its long direction along an east-west axis which results in a long south façade and facilitates a solar oriented design.
Solar Glazing–South Elevation—Upper Level—The South Elevation has glazing amounting to 12 percent of the floor area. Thermal mass was provided for the amount of glazing exceeding 7 percent of the floor area.
Thermal Mass–The thermal mass on the upper level, employed to accommodate the solar glazing. The design of the house provides normal weight concrete, 1 ½ inch thick, finished with ceramic tile. This will assist in keeping the house warm in the winter.
Overhangs–Two foot deep overhangs are provided. The side of the house will be shaded six feet down from the overhang. The window sills are within six feet of the overhang. This will assist in keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Active Solar—Photovoltaic System generates 4.5KW of electricity—300 S.F. of panels, producing an average of 15 watts per square foot.