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Bernhardt Architecture - A sample of eco houses

Eco House 1 - Waitakere City, Auckland, New Zealand

Passive Solar Design

The house is divided into 2 aisles, separated by a conservatory, to open it up for the passive use of the sun’s energy. The lounge/dining/kitchen wing (north-facing) has concrete floors exposed to the autumn and winter midday sun storing the heat and releasing it at night. Wide eaves keep the hot sun out in summer. The ‘opening up’ of the house by way of a conservatory space incorporates an internal concrete wall which is exposed to the winter midday sun and radiates warmth into the adjacent bedroom wing.

Further space heating

There is a solid fuel burner in the lounge with a high energy efficiency rating to top up the space heating requirements on cold winter days. A brick wall behind the heater stores heat for additional gains. A louver window above the heater allows heat to be transferred to the conservatory and the bedroom wing. Heat gathered in the conservatory can be transferred into the lounge by opening sliding doors.

Water Collection

Roof water is collected in a buried concrete water tank and used for household and garden. Filters clean the water.

Wastewater

Wastewater is being collected in a composting system which uses worms for the biological break-up of solids and filters the liquids before they drain into a dispersal field covered with plants.

Water heating - Solar hot water

A solar water heating panel on the roof heats the household water. With the sun’s power being reduced in winter the solar heating of the water is complemented by a ‘wetback’ system which has a water pipe running through the back of the heater in the lounge heating the water as it passes through.

Insulation

A blend of wool and polyester insulation in roof and wall is above Building Code requirements in order to reduce heating requirements. Windows along the (cold) southern wall and in the conservatory have double glazing.

Eco Friendly Timber construction

Plantation grown timbers (pine for construction, macrocarpa for interior, cedar for weatherboard, eucalyptus saligna for decks) have been used as sustainable alternatives to indigenous or rainforest timbers.

Healthy Indoor climate

A healthy indoor climate has been achieved by various means:
Natural bio-paints throughout the house, toxin-free or low-toxic building materials minimise the amount of toxic gases released into the interior space, ventilation devices and breathable walls help to exchange indoor air on a regular basis,
carpet-free floorings are easy to clean, thus reducing the build-up of dust mites which are responsible for allergies and asthma, Good insulation and double glazing along the (cold) southerly wall prevent moisture build-up through condensation and thus remove breeding grounds for mould, fungus and mildew growth, Main electric cables are placed away from bedrooms and rest areas in order to reduce electro-magnetic radiation.

Eco house

Eco house 2

Passive Solar Design

The single-storey house follows the contours of the land as well as the sun path. All living spaces are aligned from east to west and have sun exposure for passive solar gains in winter. In order to control the summer heat eaves and shading elements have been placed above windows in computer-generated and controlled dimensions. The southern side of the house contains minor spaces such as large pantry, laundry, WC, entry and passage way. They serve as a temperature buffer between southern exposure and the northerly living spaces. All living spaces have concrete floors exposed to the autumn and winter midday sun storing the heat in order to release it at night.

Further space heating

There is a closed fireplace in the lounge with a high energy efficiency rating to top up the space heating requirements on cold winter days. Heat gathered in the main living areas can be transferred into the minor spaces by way of sliding doors.

Water collection from the roof

Roof water is collected in a concrete water tank and used for household and garden. Filters clean the water.

Wastewater / Grey Water

Wastewater is being collected in a composting system which uses worms for the biological break-up of solids and filters the liquids before they drain into a dispersal field covered with plants.

Water heating

A solar water heating panel heats the household water. With the sun’s power being reduced in winter the solar heating of the water is complemented by a ‘wetback’ system which has a water pipe running through the back of the heater in the lounge heating the water as it passes through.

Insulation

Roof and wall insulation is above Building Code requirements in order to reduce heating requirements. Windows along the (cold) southern wall have double glazing.

Timber construction

Plantation grown timbers (pine for construction, macrocarpa for interior, cedar for weatherboard, eucalyptus saligna for decks) have been used as sustainable alternatives to indigenous or rainforest timbers.

Indoor climate

A healthy indoor climate has been achieved by various means:
toxin-free or low-toxic building materials minimise the amount of toxic gases released into the interior space, ventilation devices and breathable walls help to exchange indoor air on a regular basis, carpet-free floorings are easy to clean, thus reducing the build-up of dust mites which are responsible for allergies and asthma, Good insulation and double glazing along the (cold) southerly wall prevent moisture build-up through condensation and thus remove breeding grounds for mould, fungus and mildew growth,Main electric cables are placed away from bedrooms and rest areas in order to reduce electro-magnetic radiation.

Eco House

Johann Bernhardt
Dipl Ing (Arch), PhD (Urban Des)
Cert. Building Biology and Ecology
Colleague NZIA
ph/fax 09 – 376 6767
www.bernhardtarchitecture.co.nz

  • 1. Passive solar design - thermal mass (concrete floors in combination with appropriate glazing) storing the winter sun during daytime and releasing radiant warmth at night
  • 2. double glazing along southern and eastern parts of the house
  • 3. Insulation above Building Code requirements
  • 4. Triple combustion burner for energy efficiency of 85 – 90%
  • 5. Solar water heating panels on roof
  • 6. Use of plantation-grown local hardwood timbers, such as eucalyptus saligna, for decks and bamboo for flooring
  • 7. Low- or non-toxic building materials and paints
  • 8. Use of non-allergenic building materials
  • 9. Breathable walls and natural ventilation
  • 10. Rainwater collection for non-potable and garden use

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