Are you considering making a house?
You want the house to be efficient and sustainable?
Do you want to save in heating & cooling?
You don’t know where to start?
In this post we explain the basic notions of Efficient houses design, architecture and construction.
May you don’t know us yet, let us introduce ourselves.
We are the firm of Architecture ERA architects in Barcelona and we recommend to do efficient houses.
In this post you can find our professional recommendations when making an efficient house.
SITE & LOCATION
- Let Sun light inside in winter, avoid it in summer (pergolas are great, they are fixed elements letting low sun from winter and avoiding it in summer)
- Mind geography, topography, shadows (mountains, trees and buildings) and wind when locating the house in the site
- Use landscaping for winter shelter and summer cooling (trees, garden walls, pods and swimming design and location
FORM & DESIGN
- Orientation and climate is crucial
- Learn from the locals (get inspired by vernacular architecture wisdom)
- Main facade facing South or South East (to capture Sun in winter. Also avoiding west low sun in warm climates since it does not warm in winter and is killing hot in summer)
- Prevent solar shades in South orientation (pergola is the best option)
- Put sun and wind together (take advantage of Sun and wind behavior to warm and cool your house when needed)
- Set cold rooms to north (bathroom, kitchen, entrance, corridor)
- Compact house volumes use less energy
- Considering the natural properties of every material (concrete and ceramics have high thermal storage but low insulation capacities, while massive wood has high thermal storage and high insulation values)
- Comfort depends on what you are wearing and doing (cooking, lights and activity affect the comfort values)
- Wrap the building continuously on all sides (including ground floor slab)
- Mind to use windows with two cameras and triple glass (doble glass windows have 6 times less insulation values than a proper insulated wall)
- Consider semi buried volumes or green roofs to protect against heat loss
ENERGIE & INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
- Combine solar gain with thermal mass (2-4% window to total building area)
- Capture heat with a south greenhouse
- Use thermal dynamics (warm air wants to be cool)
- Consider using a thermal wall (solar oriented wall of 30-40cm to absorve heat in winter)(thermal storage capacities for: concrete-> 3, soil-> 11, water-> 12)
- Consider having a pond on the roof (slowly released heat)
- Consider harvesting the sun’s heat and cool from earth (geothermic)
- Consider recovering the heat with double flow systems
- Use cross ventilation
- Use daylight to reduce electricity (every room with natural light)(window= 20% of wall surface)(tall windows capture more light)
- Keep it simple and consider domotic systems to adapt building to climate changes (make it easier for user for the building to function automatically)
In our firm of Architecture ERA architects we recommend making Efficient houses in wood.
Even so, you should know that there are many building systems that affect the time and price of a house.
You can check our previous posts
If you decide on a wooden efficient house, we recommend that you consider it being a Passive House.
In the next post we will explain the Passive House standards and why we, as professionals recommend this option.
Read you next week!