select
|

Living off the grid



Five years ago, architecture and urban-design firm Farr Associates was asked to solve the problem of a carbon free home. The company built a 2,600-square-foot house that is now “very, very close” to generating all of its own power, architect Jonathan Boyer says. The owners and designers continue to tweak the tech, and he’s expecting net-zero energy use in the next year.



Here is how they did it:

Earth-Friendly Elements
  1. Water Recycling
The “upside-down” roof not only conceals extensive solar arrays, it captures rainwater for irrigating the garden’s native plants. Inside, an innovative system treats gray water from the washing machine with chlorine and ultraviolet light and uses it to flush the home’s dual-tank toilets.
  1. Solar Panels
Forty-eight photovoltaic panels provide 10 kilowatts of generating capacity. The roof’s reflective surface bounces additional sunlight onto the PV panels, boosting energy yield by 10 percent. Meanwhile, thermal solar panels provide for the home’s hot water needs and support climate-control systems.
  1. Geothermal Wells
Three hundred feet under the garden, three geothermal wells store warm water (heated in part by the rooftop panels) and circulate it to the house for heating and cooling. In summer, the closed- loop system functions as a heat-exchange system, chilling the house much as an air conditioner does.
  1. Radiant Heat
In winter, warm water is pumped from the geothermal wells and circulated through tubing embedded in the home’s concrete floors. That’s enough to heat floors to between 13°C or 16°C; air pumped from the wells then kicks room temperatures up to between 20°C or 24°C.
  1. Thick Walls
The external walls sandwich insulation between two 8-inch-thick concrete layers that protect the interior from outside temperature fluctuations. On hot days, the concrete absorbs and retains heat, keeping rooms cool; at night it slowly releases that heat to maintain steady temps around the clock.
  1. Ultra-Efficient Windows
Glass is great for letting in sunlight, but in cold weather it lets heat out. Three coats of glazing give these windows more than twice the thermal resistance of standard double-paned glass. Add in honeycombed shades for yet more heat retention.





  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      With interest rates remaining at historic lows and banks continuing to compete for mortgage finance business, first-time buyers with funds at their disposal are currently well-placed to gain that initial foothold on the property ladder, particularly in the light of the slightly lower growth rates currently experienced in residential property values.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      The average size of bond granted in SA has grown 7,7% in the past 12 months to R934 000, according to BetterBond, the country’s biggest bond originator.
    • 19 Jun 2018
      In the current market, letting out a property can be a good option as rental demand remains strong, especially in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. This is according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop. However he says that before homeowners let their property out, there are five key points they should make sure are covered before they market the property for rent and sign any lease agreements.
    • 19 Jun 2018
      The Capetonian dream is to live by the ocean with the iconic mountain making an appearance somewhere in the horizon. But, that dream comes with a hefty price tag that many simply cannot afford. But, should you venture some kilometres out of the city centre, entirely new realms of beachside bliss await you …
    • 19 Jun 2018
      Douw Steyn, one of the richest men in the country, recently allowed a rare glimpse into his Fourways Palazzo when it was featured on the SABC lifestyle programme Top Billing - and it is beyond your wildest dreams!
    • 18 Jun 2018
      Many home sellers are motivated to appoint estate agents because they know that the agency will carry the costs of advertising and marketing their property.
    • 18 Jun 2018
      When a property is sold when it has a tenant in occupation, the questions often raised are: “What happens to the tenant if the landlord sells the property?”, and what rights the tenant will have with regards to cancelling the lease or enforcing it, says Sunell Afrika, rentals manager for SAProperty.com.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK