Never Heard of Eco-House Designs ? Here We Explain!-A360Architects

What is an eco-house/eco-home ?

An eco-house (or eco-home) is an environmentally friendly home designed and built using materials and technologies that reduce its carbon footprint and energy requirements. Eco-homes are measured in multiple ways to meet sustainability requirements, such as conserving water, reducing waste by reusing and recycling materials, controlling pollution to limit global warming, generating and conserving energy, and reducing CO2 emissions.

An eco-house could include some or all of the following:

  • Higher than usual thermal insulation
  • Better air tightness than normal
  • Good daylight conditions
  • Passive solar orientation — glazing oriented to the south for light and heat
  • Thermal mass to absorb the heat of the sun
  • Minimum glazing facing north — to reduce heat loss
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)
  • Heating from renewable sources (such as solar, heat pump, or biomass)
  • Photovoltaic panels, small wind turbine, or electricity from a ‘green’ supplier
  • Natural materials — avoiding PVCu and other plastics
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Grey water collection
  • Composted toilet
  • Glass with two or three layers and a vacuum between them to prevent heat loss (double or triple glazed windows)
  • Solar panels or wind turbines
  • Geothermal heating and plants on the roof that regulate the temperature, calm the house and produce oxygen
  • A vegetable patch outside the house for food

Building Concepts:

  • Energy Losses — Buildings consume enormous amounts of energy. Home energy also contributes to global warming. According to the Energy Information Administration, home energy contributes to 21% of all greenhouse gasses in the United States alone. Construction also releases 48% of greenhouse gasses. According to some calculations, it is as much as 70% of all energy consumed when all factors are considered. This energy is consumed mainly for heating and lighting. Therefore, it is important to design houses that are well insulated and make the most of natural light.
  • Insulation — Increasing insulation is the most important component in preventing energy loss. According to the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air and is one of the top five health risks to humans. This pollution can be caused by toxic chemicals and molds and can lead to asthma. Insulation in eco-homes includes draught excluders, glazing, wall and roof insulation, and other non-toxic materials. When you add insulation, you not only pay less money on your heating bills, but you also reduce exposure to toxic substances like the carcinogen formaldehyde found in wood products.
  • Passive solar exposure — In the Northern Hemisphere, a south-facing site is much better than a north-facing site because it provides access to sunlight and protection from the cold north wind. An eco-house begins its life facing the sun. Ideally, the site for the house should face southwest and be protected from north and east winds. This is not always possible, but there is usually a way to take advantage of passive solar gain by adding more glass to either the front or back of the building. Planting trees and installing windbreaks on the north and east sides of the property can increase solar gain by protecting the house from the cold northeast winds. After the house is facing the sun, high performance windows are used to let in as much light and heat as possible. Sunlight then streams into the house and the heat generated is kept inside the building by a highly insulated building envelope, draft-proof windows and doors, and thermal mass.
  • Active solar gain — Facing the sun also means that active solar systems can be installed, both solar collectors for water heating and electricity-generating solar collectors on the roofs, further enhancing the free heat and electricity generated by the sun.
  • Living gain — Living in the home also generates heat. Active people can generate as much heat as an electric fireplace with a log. Add to that the heat from cooking, washing, lights, etc., and you can imagine how an eco-house can get too hot. If you open the windows, the heat is reduced, but an eco house could also include heat recovery ventilation systems.
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation — These systems draw warm, moist air from bathrooms and kitchens and remove the heat from the stale, moist air before it is exhausted outside. The heat recovery system transfers this collected heat to the fresh air entering the building and distributes it throughout the bedrooms and living rooms, creating fresh, room-temperature air. An added benefit is that filters can be added to the air supply to create a barrier against pollen or other irritants
  • Living heat loss — Thanks to passive and active solar gains, insulation, draft-protected building envelope, and heat recovery system, eco-homes could be heat-free, meaning that theoretically, there would be no need to constantly pump heat into them from a central heating system. In practice, heat loss inevitably occurs when occupants open the doors and windows of the house for various reasons. An eco-house can be designed to have heating systems that can respond quickly and efficiently to changes in room temperature and raise the water temperature behind the solar collectors.

Sustainable materials:

  • Timber
  • Lime
  • Reclaimed materials-Reused materials are also used, especially bricks, slates, and roof tiles, to harness the energy contained in these materials. This can also help new buildings blend with their surroundings

Thus we hope we are able to explain the whole concept of a eco-house.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store