The Zero Energy House in Auckland, New Zealand was a project intended to provide an educational focus on the construction of a highly efficient and environmentally minded residence. The homeowners, Shay Brazier and Jo Woods, freely shared the design and development as a resource for others.
The structural design was planned by A Studio Architects. The owners contributed to all elements of the production process, from research to the calculated analyzation of what materials and building strategies would work best within the budget.
This included a thermal analysis of resources used and careful attention to the site during construction, such as recycling in the building phase. Objects with a high thermal mass like heavy doors, concrete flooring, a strategically placed overhang and shading helps to keep down the temperature in hotter months.
Also, the orientation of the structure and consideration of how the sun hits the site was studied in order to make the most of the natural energy.
Reportedly, it took two years to finalize the design method for the construction. However, strenuous planning and vigilant attention to smart features paid off.
After the first year alone, the solar roof system not only covered the cost for itself but also obtained Zero Energy status for the build. It was able to produce twice the energy needed to operate, and the owners even exported extra electricity to receive a net energy income profit.
The home uses even less energy per year than estimated due to the integrated renewable energy systems. According to the Zero Energy House statistics, over the course of 25 years a typical household in the same area can expect to spend at least $50,000 on power.
There is no internal heating, but rather the heat is provided solely through a passive design and the water is solar heated. Since the average heating system can use up to 1/3 of the energy use of a standard home in this area, this is a money saving feature.
Natural ventilation and highly efficient insulation that is above the standard code also helps to maintain a year round comfortable indoor temperature.
Also, the rooftop solar panels are placed so that the tiles overlap and a tray is set between each one. This works to house the solar cells, but also creates a waterproof roof.
A full monitoring system accessible through a smartphone app allows full management of the home’s operations so that tasks requiring power synch and perform when the solar array can provide enough energy.
In addition to the green elements, the home incorporates a functional lifestyle design in the interior. Comprised of two different zones, one area is intended for the living space and another block is for work and play.
Indoors, natural wood finishes, recycled and homemade pieces lend to a relaxed feel.
According to the homeowners, the overall design behind the house is relatively simple, but the addition of efficient details and green innovation makes the Zero Energy House an outstanding considerate build.
All images are via Zero Energy House.
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