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Sustainable home design

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Michael Green: Why we should build wooden skyscrapers. The World’s Most Advanced Building Material Is... Wood. On a cloudy day in early October, the architect Andrew Waugh circles the base of a nondescript apartment tower in Shoreditch, a neighborhood in East London.

The World’s Most Advanced Building Material Is... Wood

Shoreditch suffered heavily during the blitz of World War II—“urban renewal, compliments of the Luftwaffe,” Waugh says—and then spent decades in neglected decay. Recently, though, the neighborhood has come roaring back. Nightclubs and tech start-ups arrived first on the promise of cheap rent, and residents followed. Along with them came architects, urban planners, and engineers, many of whom make a pilgrimage to the same tower that Waugh now circumambulates. From the outside, there is nothing particularly flashy about the nine-story building, called Stadthaus, that Waugh designed with his partner, Anthony Thistleton.

But not just any wood. When it opened in 2009, Stadthaus was by far the world’s tallest modern timber building. Wood is both renewable and a carbon sink. There are plans to go even higher. The New Wood: Making CLT 3) Sand. Building materials: Wooden skyscrapers. WHEN life hands you lemons, goes the old saw, make lemonade.

Building materials: Wooden skyscrapers

But what if life should hand you 18m hectares (44m acres) of dead trees? That is the problem faced by the province of British Columbia in Canada, which could lose over half its pine trees to the depredations of the fearsome mountain pine beetle. The beetle, no bigger than a grain of rice, is native to the forests of Western North America, where it kills trees by releasing a blue stain fungus that prevents the flow of water and nutrients. While the insect was historically kept in check by spells of cold weather, years of mild winters have unleashed an outbreak whose spread and severity is unlike anything seen previously.

As a result, the province is peppered with billions of dead, grey trees. So, to deal with the problem, in 2009 British Columbia's parliament passed a Wood First Act that requires wood to be considered as the primary construction material in all new buildings erected with public money. Department of Energy. Plans for Passive Solar Homes. Passive Solar Home Design. Passive solar design takes advantage of a building’s site, climate, and materials to minimize energy use.

Passive Solar Home Design

A well-designed passive solar home first reduces heating and cooling loads through energy-efficiency strategies and then meets those reduced loads in whole or part with solar energy. Because of the small heating loads of modern homes it is very important to avoid oversizing south-facing glass and ensure that south-facing glass is properly shaded to prevent overheating and increased cooling loads in the spring and fall. Energy Efficiency First Before you add solar features to your new home design or existing house, remember that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing heating and cooling bills. Choose building professionals experienced in energy-efficient house design and construction and work with them to optimize your home’s energy efficiency.

Site Selection How a Passive Solar Home Design Works Properly oriented windows. Refining the Design Direct Gain. SFTool - Sustainable Facilities Tool - GSA Sustainable Facilites Tool. Toolbox: Passive Makes Perfect. Zehnder ComfoAir 550 HRV Don’t be fooled by its compact size; the ComfoAir 550 is Passive House certified and rated at 84 percent efficiency.

Toolbox: Passive Makes Perfect

It handles up to 324 cubic feet of air per minute and comes equipped with extras like automatic frost protection and a wireless remote control. Find it in Fabrica718’s retrofitted Tighthouse, and its ERV cousin in the Empowerhouse. Phase Change BioPCmat Tuck this stuff into insulated roofs, ceilings, and walls, then sit back and watch your energy costs drop. GreenWizard WORKflow PRO You’re starting a new project. The Greenest Home Julie Torres Moskovitz, founder of the Brooklyn-based design firm Fabrica718 (p. 52), brings you nearly 200 pages of illustrated inspiration in her book The Greenest Home.

Seeley International Climate Wizard Last year this Aussie product was among the winners of the 2013 World Ag Expo Top 10 New Products Competition. Marvin Ultimate Casement Window. Ultra-Efficient Home Design. Passive Solar Home Design.