Environmental-friendly houses

Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

Portugal the last couple of years tries to be a front-runner when it comes to using alternative energy sources. With well over 3000 hours of sunshine no doubt our country offers a lot of possibilities in this respect.

Maybe the following article is interesting to read.

New Jersey school of architecture professor indicates us how to construct an environmental-friendly residence on a budge

Did you know 2 New York based architects designed an asymmetrical residence with fixed cost of $250,000?

Designers and Jersey City residents Richard Garber (assistant professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology’s University of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in Nyc rose to the challenge of designing and overseeing the construction of a single-family house that’s a genuine proof of both revolutionary design and environmental-friendly technology.

Denis Carpenter not long ago purchased one small vacant lot and, to accomplish his concern for the ecosystem, wished a residence that was environmentally friendly and very easy to maintain.

What’s so special about this home?

  • In the home, on the ground level, radiant heating beneath the exposed cement floor heats up the full bathroom and a couple of sleeping rooms.

  • In the loft-like 2nd level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, living room and an artfully designed kitchen outfitted with salvaged home appliances and cabinetry.

  • Passive cooling strategies like fans and clerestory windows allow home owners to stay cool during summer months and warm during winter.

  • The roof consists of 260 feet square of photovoltaic panels that deliver around 2,000 kilowatts of energy per year to a battery stored in the basement.

  • The root have a 2-foot-square area planted with drought-resist to harvest rain .

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was built in six months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

So what now? How could you transform your home into an environmentally-friendly home without investing too much funds?

If you’re renovating a home, do an energy review first to help you determine what energy efficiency developments should and can be made to your home. In this way you’ll evaluate how much energy your home needs.

My favourite eco-friendly approach is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar means that your home’s windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute power from the sun in the form of heat in the winter season and reject solar heat in the summer season.

Existing buildings can be adapted or “retrofitted” to passively collect and store solar heat too.

These five factors constitute a comprehensive passive solar home design:

  1. The Collector - The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

  2. The Absorber - The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

  3. The Thermal Mass - The materials that retain or store the heat produced by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

  4. The Distributor - The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

  5. The Controller - Roof overhangs may be used to shade the aperture area during summer months or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.

The author - Cynthia Booth contributes articles for the architecture careers advice blog. It’s a nonprofit website dedicated to offer help for beginning designers who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to boost the attention on eco-friendly home design and change the general public perception of energy efficiency.

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