Autonomous Housing and Integrated Habitats
Project: Autonomous Housing and Integrated Habitats
Discipline: Architectural Technology / Sustainability
Programme: Coursework / CIAT Competition 2011
Lafarge cement works has agreed a 99 year lease of a field adjacent to the works to the community of Langer Cum Barnstone, Nottinghamshire. Rushcliffe Borough Council has agreed to finance a new residential development on the site but has specified that the new development must be ‘carbon neutral’.
My design for a new residential development on this site, involves 16 identical single storey houses surrounding a central community centre and green space. This development is to be enclosed with fruit bearing trees to provide a habitat for wildlife and promote natural living.
The design of the house integrates various technologies within the construction of the building, such as photovoltaic tiles. These are integrated into the south facing roof structure to generate electricity which will meet the demand of the household. The remaining amount of electricity that is unused will be driven back to the grid and to the onsite energy centre. Other technologies which are integrated into the roof structure are sky lights and a green roof. Skylights have been used on the majority of the roof area to maximise natural daylight penetration. This will reduce the demand of electricity needed for artificial lighting. An extensive green roof has been integrated to provide insulation and reduce temperatures for the house and its environment. It will also act as a home for wildlife and absorb rainwater, keeping the whole design idea natural.
The biggest factor in designing the house was the construction type. The aim was to achieve a high thermal mass, in order for the house to produce no carbon dioxide emissions. The external walls are to consist of a 200mm cavity, which is to be filled with resin bonded mineral wool insulation to give a u-value of 0.035 W/mK. The blockwork is to be 140mm Thermalite aerated concrete blocks on both leaves. Thermalite aerated concrete blocks are made using pulverised fuel ash as the aggregate, which makes a good use of waste material. Plastic wall ties are also used to reduce thermal bridging. The inner leaf of the walls are to be covered in traditional plaster, which will provide as a good air seal as it is a wet product that will fill all the gaps and cracks in the mortar of the wall.
In regards to the washrooms, a composting toilet system will be used, which converts human waste into garden compost. The composting units for these toilets will be stored directly underneath each toilet within the basement, with fans and vent pipes which extend to the external environment making the system odour free. This system will also reduce water usage as a traditional house uses up to 40% water consumption in toilet flushing.