Outside of the box GREEN home

thebuilderFebruary 19, 2010

Hi All,

I thought I would take a moment to post the preliminary design plans for a project coming up down in Orlando. This build will focus heavily on sustainable design with a very unique overall design. Features to include concrete earth bermed design, multi-level concrete roof decking with living roof systems above, recycled doug fir truss assemblies made in house, commercial glazing assemblies, rain water collection, drip system irrigation, passive and PV systems, and much more.

Here is a link to the preliminary plans that were sent by the architect. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. What do you like? What would you change? Ways to make this home more GREEN? Here is the link:

http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B98o-9xB7r9qODY0ODMwODItY2MzZi00NmZhLTljZDYtNTRlMjllZGQ5YTUx&hl=en

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jmagill_zn4

I like it except for.

No entry and coat area. The master bedroom doors open right into the bedroom, Too exposed for my liking,

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 6:41AM
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macv

The easiest way to make it "greener" would be to eliminate the oversized masonry fireplace.

I worked for an architectural firm in Geneva and they would have loved it but watching TV with the fireplace roaring, the dishwasher churning, and the mechanical equipment humming is one of many inexplicably goofy features.

Sorry, but to me it looks too much like a first round loser in a Swiss youth hostel design competition.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 7:27AM
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sierraeast

Here's the link:

Here is a link that might be useful: outside of the box

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:58AM
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thebuilder

Thanks for the ideas. Macv- A couple of your points are right on the money. The masonry fireplace is not part of the final design and soundproofing the mechanical room will be a priority. One of my concerns is the need for more metering space in the mechanical area for the solar, PV, and mechanical systems. The fireplace is not an issue as it has been eliminated since the preliminary D.D drawings were issued. A more efficient fireplace unit will be installed in its place. The double doors into the master do eliminate wall space within the room and I will recommend a change. Keep the ideas rolling.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 10:35AM
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sierraeast

I have no advise on your layout, there are many talented guys and gals here for that. Just wanted to advise that, depending on the build, 75% or more of construction "waste" is recyclable and is a major part of the many variables when defining "building green".

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 1:27PM
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reyesuela

Tons of windows and vaulted ceilings are green now?

Who'd've thought?

*snort* Long live faux-green status seeking!

(Don't tell me the windows are passive solar. Can't be. Not two stories of them, and not without insulated coverings--not even if you did the overhang calcs right. My house in the mountains in NM didn't require heat on the second floor unless it was overcast or at night, and I rarely bothered to heat the first floor except in the evenings. Now THAT'S green.)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 4:59AM
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jmagill_zn4

"Tons of windows and vaulted ceilings are green now?
Who'd've thought?

*snort* Long live faux-green status seeking!

(Don't tell me the windows are passive solar. Can't be. Not two stories of them, and not without insulated coverings--not even if you did the overhang calcs right. My house in the mountains in NM didn't require heat on the second floor unless it was overcast or at night, and I rarely bothered to heat the first floor except in the evenings. Now THAT'S green.)"

I can tell just from looking at the design that this would be perfect for solar design,

The whole front courtyard is covered with roof. That would shade all the windows from summer sun and be great for the low winter sun.

Also how can you tell from a plan what the window covering will be? You are assuming a lot.

Vaulted ceilings with high windows that open to let the hot air out are perfect for cooling in summer.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 6:40AM
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worthy

I always say that nothing spells "Welkom "better than 11 front doors.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:04AM
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archson

No windows in the bedrooms?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 11:54AM
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marthaelena

I like some elements of the design and the concept.
I would not like a master bathroom without a window. I'd not place more than one exterior door in the office and bedroom 7. It will be hard to place furniture in a 10' office with 3 doors, 2 of them double.
I'd rework the kitchen in a way that the countertop is continuous.
There is a mayor issue: The master bedroom and guest bedroom 8 do not have a window/egress.
You will need electronic control for the clerestories if they are operable (opefully a few will be operable), in addition, electronic control for the light ($$$). It will be bothersome to watch TV without light control.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 1:13PM
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thebuilder

Marthaelena: good points. I will pass them along before this design moves into the next revision. The upper level windows will definately require remote operators to evacuate hot air. The light/electrical control system will be tied to the window shade operators. Light tubes may be a possible source of natural light in two of the bedrooms but I am waiting to see if we can squeeze some windows into the top of the walls instead. Won't know until the surveying engineer plots this house on the lot. The preliminary plans have most of the house tucked into the ground. To be determined.....

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 8:33PM
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macv

Personally, I will do everything in my power to avoid living underground or in close proximity to concrete.

Since the 20's every 15 years or so the idea of buried concrete bunkers returns as a new design idea. There was one built at the New York World's Fair in '64. There was a real window with a picture of the outdoors set in an alcove outside of it. As a first year architecture student I thought it was hysterical.

Have no fear, it will pass.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 9:16AM
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worthy

Caves were home to early mankind. It's a draw that hasn't been extinguished.


Cave Condos in Turkey

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 4:35PM
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gopintos

I rather like the concept. I haven't delved into the layout, but I initially like the looks and the concept of the exterior.

We have many ppl in our area with earth contact homes. From the front they look like any other and they all love the energy efficiency. I really like the overall idea of getting it as energy efficient as you can or want for your needs & your taste.

We are in Missouri also. Lots of wind related weather like tornados.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 5:11PM
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marthaelena

Worthy,
Your image reminded me of Positano (not too far from Capri), the place that I liked the best in Italy. The concept is the same.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 5:35PM
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kateskouros

no offense marthaelena, but the only connection between worthy's image and yours is that they are both on a hill.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 6:20PM
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sierraeast

From a previous thread:

Back in the late seventies, i worked on a sample drilling crew around the yellow aster mine in randsburg,ca. It was a jumping gold mine in the late eighteen hundreds. The geologist took us down in some of the multitudes of tunnels. The temperature was between 68 - 72 degrees constant year round. The air shafts were designed genious at best, as they not only provided fresh air to the miners, but were instrumental in controlling moisture issues as well.It amazes me that we struggle to duplicate what was done in them days with our technology of the present day.Some cabins in the area were built into the ground as heating was not a problem,(wood stoves), but cooling was,and in the summer, an in the ground cabin was nice and cool.
Recently, a builder/developer/rocket scientist pal is working on a heating/cooling system in the ground using solar pumps to circulate air and water to provide the constant temperature range the earth provides year round ,in the ground.In our area, the mojave desert, that range is attained around 30'.
There are a few homes in the area that have "daylight basements" where three sides are earthbound and require no heating or cooling in that immediate area. Surprisingly there are no earth homes in our area that take advantage of the deserts low humitity and moisture, although it does get wet in the winter, and moisture issues would still have to be addressed.

Here is a link that might be useful: underground home thread

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 6:47PM
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worthy

Then there's the less colourful New World version of Positano.


Brazilian favela....not yet "discovered" by Mick Jagger and friends.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 8:54PM
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sierraeast

Best of both worlds. Prehistoric/modern luxury!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gamirasu cave hotel

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 11:14AM
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worthy

I like it!

But I suppose if I recreated that look in my basement, there would be few admirers.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 11:19AM
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rosieo

We're doing a concrete earth berm home. On a MUCH smaller scale. I started with the native american concept of the long house. Then I located all the living areas in the front of the house, so they could receive plenty of light (and egress.) I put the bathrooms, closets, storage all on the back wall where light isn't so important.

I'm also relying on solar tubes in the back rooms. I had one in my last house and LOVED the thing. It always looked like I'd left the light on in that room.

Since we've started our house we're seeing more and more of them. Maybe more people are waking up to the fact that we're running out of cheap energy. "Peak oil" is starting to get more attention.

Or maybe people like how they're solid. I came from hurricane country and there's nothing more terrifying than seeing a tornado coming at you and realizing you've got nowhere to hide.

Anyhow, it looks like a fun project and I'll be interested to hear how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:12AM
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oceandweller

I worked on a house in Tahoe that had imported insanely 2" thick windows from England with old English castle wood trim, crazy expensive but they kept the house miraculously insulated and were about 10 foot each taking up the entire back of the two store home.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 2:03AM
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