With soaring costs of non-renewable energy, many people are looking into suitable ways that can help save energy in their homes. There are many ways of reducing energy costs, but why just reduce energy costs when you can cut them out all together? Many are looking at ways to do that with zero energy houses being one of the latest discoveries.
In case you didn’t know, a zero energy house is a house with zero-net energy consumption. The annual total amount of energy used by the house is roughly equal to the annual total amount of renewable energy generated on the site.
In Norway, the Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings has partnered with Snøhetta- an integrated design company- to construct a zero energy house. According to the two organizations, the ecologically conscious structure serves as a platform for developing knowledge of big houses that produce more energy than they use.
The pilot house is tilted towards the southeast and has a sloped roof surface featuring photovoltaic panels. Some geothermal wells have been established on the site to complement the solar energy collectors. The two energy sources are capable of powering the whole house and allow for a surplus that can keep an electric car on the road throughout the year.
Another interesting thing about the house is that it is supposed to be free of carbon emissions. The corporation is verifying its 100% CO2 offsetting capacity. Some integrated technological systems have been installed to negate carbon emissions. The systems are designed to do away with burning of fossil fuels which are a major contributor of environmental pollution.
When it comes to the parts of the house, the wall is made of a stone that stabilizes thermal changes. Some large fins have been installed above the windows to provide shading. The doors providing the way to the outdoor patio, living room & kitchen are made of glass and have sliding mechanisms. This makes use of natural light.
The construction company has also installed a sky lit staircase (making the most of natural light and aesthetically pleasing) which passes by the central brick wall.
The bedrooms are located on the upper sections. I imagine it is designed in this way so that the heat rises to keep bedrooms warm.
The Snøhetta’s zero energy house is a complete dwelling place. It has a nice spatial layout and features leisure amenities such as day lighting, a pool and a garden site. The pool is heated by the building integrated energy system. The outdoor courtyard is spiced up by beautiful bricks and stacked logs.
Location: Ringdalskogen, Larvik, Norway.
Theme: Zero Emission Demonstration Building.
Size: 220 Sq.M (Both house & Site).
Completion Date: September 17, 2014.
Client: Optimera & Brødrene Dahl (Saint Gobain).
The Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings has been encouraging people to adopt zero energy houses as they come with a lot of benefits such as:
– Isolation for owners from energy price increases.
– Increased comfort due to controlled interior temperatures.
– Reduced ownership cost and monthly cost of living.
– Reduced blackouts
– Higher resale value.
– Reduced carbon emission taxes and penalties.
– Future legislative restrictions and carbon emission.
The ZEB building was nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture- the Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2015. This is seen as a great motivation for people who are planning to construct these types of houses or renovate the existing high energy-consuming houses to qualify as zero energy.