Posts Tagged ‘Embodied energy’

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) House of the Future Runs on Spinach

martedì, aprile 13th, 2010

The winning entry to the Cradle to Cradle C2C Home Competition is an incredible single family dwelling by Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum that goes right to the core fundamentals of the Cradle to Cradle principles. Not only does the building run a photosynthetic and phototropic skin made with spinach protein, but it also produces more energy than a single family’s needs, allowing the excess to be distributed to neighbors. This radical shift, from centralized energy systems today, fosters community interdependence as neighbors benefit from the resources of others.

ENERGY is neither created nor destroyed.  It is collected and returned.  This design utilizes timeless passive solar strategies by shielding unwanted summer sun and absorbing heat from low winter sun through its thermal mass.  Active solar collection provides the main source of necessary electrical energy.  The core extends vertically, clad with a super-conductive photosynthetic plasma cell skin that is able to generate 200% more electrical voltage per area than contemporary photovoltaics.  Building on current research involving extracted spinach protein, this living skin is photosynthetic and phototropic it grows and follows the path of the sun, generating electricity in excess of single family needs.  excess power is distributed to neighboring homes and street lighting infrastructure.

WATER is a crucial resource to life that should be enhanced by future development. This design integrates building with landscape, a vegetated roof system collects and filters stormwater into the building core.  The core collects and supplies all household plumbing elements contained within it. Black and grey water are released to a primary septic tank below the core and eventually released as effluent to the “living garden”. Garden beds along the entry receive irrigation and  nutrients to provide site-yield vegetables.  This system is engineered to accept and treat residential wastewater from neighboring homes in addition to the primary residence to lessen off site dependency. 

MATERIALS should enable, not consume.  Earth acts as a primary insulator and reduces building material use. Rapidly, renewable soy-foam wall panels offer superior thermal resistance with minimal embodied energy.  Reconstituted concrete with striated polymer mesh reinforcement efficiently supports the open building plan, allowing a flexible arrangement of partitions and spaces to accommodate present and future users.

VENTILATION is fundamental to comfort in southern climates.  Prevailing summer wind from the southwest flows freely up the length of the site toward the upturned earth plane.  The building form and contour increase the speed of wind while the roof overhang captures the breeze and directs it through operable louvers to the interior.  The core serves as a stack ventilation tower, allowing a controllable flow of hot air up and out of the house by the positive pressure being created within the house.  Shaded outdoor space provides comfort choices for users and interaction with neighbors.

COMMUNITY underlies all technological success.  No advances in residential building design and technology truly matter if single families remain isolated and independent of one another.  This design suggests that community interdependence is the necessary foundation for future growth.  One home shelters one family, but creates a resource that benefits many.  Excess energy is distributed to offset conventional power production while communal waste is retained on site, collected and treated to nurture common garden space.  In time, this seed of shared resources spreads through common design to create a fundamental link between individual and whole.

Vertical Farming

martedì, aprile 13th, 2010

We’re facing a lot of challenges in the future.  As oil gets more expensive our transportation costs are going to rise.  Sustainability is going to become more difficult to achieve and in our cities, fresh produce will be rarer.  Fortunately there are some innovative solutions.  One of those is Vertical farming for compact spaces.  It’s inspirational. 

From ecogeek: Some features of the “Center for Urban Agriculture” (CUA):

  • Fully self-sufficient building: in energy and water.
    • 31,000 sq ft rooftop water rainwater collection
    • Recycling of gray water (including an ability to handle some of the surrounding area’s waste water up to “20 times its own discharge potential”)
    • 34,000+ sq ft of solar PV cells with hydrogen gas backup
  • “Agricultural features include fields for growing veggies and grains, greenhouses, rooftop gardens and even a chicken farm.”
    • Local produced food is critical for changing energy patterns as “40 percent of an individual’s ecological footprint is generated by the embodied energy in food.”
  • 318 apartments (studio, 1 & 2 bedroom units)
  • Restaurant & Cafe (The “Greenhouse” using building grown food.

All this in less than an acre.