Category Archives: Green Building

Clean Energy through the Roof Glass

Glass roofs can be used as a self-generating source for heating households, by capturing solar heat. An swedish invention has developed tile formed glassparts that captures the sun heating and between the roof battens are built special liquid absorber models that harvests sun’s energy and coverts the energy to heat. Aesthetic it gives the roof a nice icy look. The system cuts also the energy costs significantly all year around.

index SolTechEnergy-glasstiles-1

Sources and photos: www.kth.se, inhabitat.com

All about Natural Pools

A natural swimming pool or pond is a pure ecological system where the water is protected from chemicals and  plants are used in the enviromnent to balance the ecological system. The purifying of the water is made by biological filters or natural plants. It is called natural pool because the system has biological equivalents in the natural world. Natural pools are called  NSP (Natural Swimming Pool or Natural Swimming Pond).

The natural pool is divided into two areas:

  • The swimming zone is the area intended for swimming that resembles a conventional swimming pool or pond.
  • The regeneration zone consists of a lined overflow pool filled with specific filtration substrate and flora. Plants used for water regeneration can be supplemented with decorative flowering species to create an attractive water garden environment. The biological processes that clean the water take place in this zone.

Wikipedia

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Pool Filtration System

Skimmer and pumps makes the water circulate through the regeneration area and then the water returns to the swimming area. Natural plants filters contaminants and nutrients in the water prevents algae. Natural rocks works like biological filters thanks to attaching environmental friendly bacteria.

The water in a natural pool is “living” and does not need to be connected to a sewer and costs of energy and mechanical operation is reduced. A natural pool welcomes also living creatures like frogs, snails and other naturally living creatures in an ecological system. It is a good sign of having a pure natural system. In a natural pool you do not have issues with itching skin, red eyes, allergies or damaged bathing suits that chlorine filled waters causes. You can also connect your pool with heat pumps or solar energy to heat up the water and cover the electrical usage of pumps, lamps ecc.

When planning a natural swimming pool please consider following:

– Minimum depth of 2 m

– For correct purification the regeneration- and swimming zone areas must be equal

– Swimming zone be physically separated from the regeneration

– There are no fixed standards for a pool, each structure has to be adapted to local circumstances and climate

– You can swim immediately, but it takes 2-3 years to reach full biological equilibrium

Even if a natural pool needs much less maintenance than a classical chemical pool, a seasonal care is still needed:

° Spring: Plants must be pruned and cut to avoid over growth, like in a normal garden. Minimize foreign contaminants from all areas.

° Summer: Hot days the water may evaporate and the pool may need extra water to protect the system

° Autumn: Remove dead leafs and prevent algae growth

° Winter: Avoid to extend the freezing process of the pool during the winter as it can damage to pool. The pool is already calculated to manage local temperatures.

Examples of Natural Swimming Pools:

biotope pool austria

Austria: www.biotop-natural-pool.com

swimming teich

www.living-pool.eu

Inspiration for text: Wikipedia, Inspirationgreen.com, biotop-natural-pool.com
Photo: Wikipedia, Inspirationgreen.com

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a concept of ecological engineering and design and environmental designs, modeled from natural ecosystems to develop sustainable architecture and self-mantaining agricultural systems. The core for Permaculture is:

  • Care for the earth: Secure for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish
  • Care for the people: Secure for people to access those resources necessary for their existence
  • Return of surplus: Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness

The basic for Permaculture is to find synergy from the final design to harmonize and have full benefit for the community by combining landscape, spices and function. It is not about separating parts, it is about combining parts to its maximum efficiency so the whole part has a greater function, than the parts separated. The concept teaches us to build natural homes, grow organic foods, collect rain water, take care of waste and make lowest inpact on the environment. It is about working with the nature, integrate with the nature and construct ecosystems. It is also about leaving the nature in its own evolution. Permaculture is not a fixed principle and changes depending on location, climatic conditions and available resources to become a responsable consumer and build a holistic approach.

PC

 

Text inspiration from: wikipedia, Permaculture Institute, Permacultureprincples
Photo: sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net
diversity, stability, and the resilience of natural ecosystems – See more at: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/permaculture_design_course#sthash.5zk51FYX.dpufconstuct
Permaculture teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, take care of waste and much more. – See more at: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/permaculture_design_course#sthash.5zk51FYX.dpuf
Permaculture teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities, take care of waste and much more. – See more at: http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/permaculture_design_course#sthash.5zk51FYX.dpuf

What does Off Grid Living mean?

Off grid living is a choice for more people. Some says it is for the crises, but mostly it is actually being tired of this modern life style with bills and stress that comes with it. But the most important reasons are that more people are looking to reduce their footprints in the environment, assert their independence from the existing system and avoid reliance on fossil fuels. How does this lifestyle work?

House going of the grid: water, electricity, phone line ecc are normally connected to a municipal or national system. Some houses decides to provide themselves with own electricity with renewable solutions (solar, air, heat pump) and in water rich areas also dig their own water supply, where also renewable sources supply water heating.  Some even build their own sewage system. In some countries you can also become tax free by building your house on wheels. To reduce construction costs some make their own construction materails from recycable materials or use local materials.

off-grid-homes-van-geet-coloradoimages1

Two types of Off Grid homes

(Photo: 1st: treehugger.com, 2nd: pg.webring.com)

Foods: many people also produce their own foods having a farm with food produce and animals. Some also rent a part of their land for others who likes to produce their foods but do not have land, and pays rent with foods to the land owner. By collecting rain water in sustainable water basins brings enough water to the crops all year around. Some adjust their lives to eat by seasons and/or eat only what the geographical area gives.

Recycling: many houses has their own compost system. Some houses recycle waste and brings them or sells them to ecological systems. There are people making themselves a living only by collecting waste and selling them to recycling centers.

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Home water collector and home made green house

(Photo 1st: unknown, 2nd: blog.ellams.com)

For some off grid living means to be with out recidence and travels as tourists. Some countries asks only to exit the country for some days to get at new permission to stay in the country for a longer time.

In all ways Off Grid Living means to be autonomous or self -sufficient…more or less…

Energy Efficient Building

Energy efficient building solutions is a fast growing sector and new technology comes up every day. The standards varies from different areas, e.g. the german building standard can not be used to south italian building standards, because in Germany the standard has to fight cold temperatures, while in south Italy the standard has to fight warm temperatures. There are different solutions that may confuse the buyer, but all can be used in any region and here we shortly explain four of them:

Low Energy House is a building standard where design, material and technology is used to lower energy consumption and uses less energy from one or several sources. The standard varies but in Europe it refers to a house that uses half of the German or Swiss low-energy standards referred to below for space heating, normally in the range from 30 kWh/m²a to 20 kWh/m²a = 9,500 Btu/ft²/yr to 6,300 Btu/ft²/yr. Low-energy buildings typically use high levels of insulation, energy efficient windows, low levels of air infiltration and heat recovery ventilation to lower heating and cooling energy.

deepstone_house_w031209_6Example of a Low Energy House (Photo: e-architect.co.uk)

Passive House is a standard for energy efficient building, reducing ecological impact. It results in very low energy builiding  that require little energy for space heating or cooling. This standard is not limited to only residental building, it is also well adapted in construction of  public buildings, business facilities, schools, supermarkets to name few. The passive house standard is well developed in German speaking countries and Scandinavia. The Passive House standard is actually developed by a swedish and german collaboration.

The Passivhouse standard for central Europe requires that the building fulfills the following requirements:

  • The building must be designed to have an annual heating demand as calculated with the Passivhaus Planning Package of not more than 15 kwh/m² per year = 4746 btu/ft² per year, in heating and 15 kwh/m² per year cooling energy OR to be designed with a peak heat load of 10W/m²
  • Total energy source for electricity and etc., primary energy for heating, hot water and electricity must not be more than 120 kWh/m² per year = 3.79 × 104 btu/ft² per year.
  • The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour = n50 ≤ 0.6 / hour at 50 Pa (N/m²) as tested

300px-Passivhaus_Darmstadt_Kranichstein_Fruehling_2006

A building based on the passive house concept in Darmstadt, Germany (photo: Wikipedia)

Zero Energy House is just what the name inteds, a building with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions. Depending of country and technology the house use the electrical grid for energy storage but some are independent of grid. This standard offers several options for producing and conserving energy and many ways of measuring energy.

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Example of Zero Energy House (Photo: zokazola.com – Stefan Behling)

Energy Plus House is the latest in energy efficient building (2013-09-28) and is a house that produces more energy from renewable energy sources than it consumes over an year. The house is a combination of microgeneration technology and low energy building technologies. This standard can be adapted to any kinds of construction as homes, offices, schools to name few…

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Prototype of Zero Energy structure in Germany (photo: Wikipedia)

 

Numbers and some definition sources: Wikipedia

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