to the March 2003 newsletter for Design Forward. Please
take some time to enjoy this month's features.
of the Month: "Simply by not owning three medium-sized
castles in Tuscany I have saved enough money in the
last forty years on insurance premiums alone to buy
a medium-sized castle in Tuscany." - Ludwig Mies van
Basics of Passive Solar
The basis of Passive Solar Design is to use the
natural climate and the sun to heat and cool your
home. Some of the basic design criteria for plan
layout are use an open floor plan while keeping
the long axis on the east- west alignment. The south
facing windows should be sized to take in the most
light during the winter, but minimal light in the
summer. This is usually accomplished with the help
of shading the summer sun with overhangs.
the simplest passive solar heating method is direct
solar gain or thermal mass. A direct solar gain
system includes south-facing windows and a large
mass, usually composed of masonry or concrete,
placed within the space (this can be your floor)
to receive the most direct sunlight in cold weather.
During the winter weather, the thermal mass absorbs
the heat of the sun during the day and radiates
the heat back into the room during the night.
In the summer months, when the direct sunlight
will not be coming into the room, the thermal
mass will absorb only the warm air inside. The
result is the air is cooled in warm seasons and
heated in cold seasons.
most notable passive solar cooling method is ventilation.
The strategic placement of operable windows and
the use of a thermal chimney can noticeable change
the temperature. For example, opening clerestory
windows while also opening lower windows on the
opposite side of the room will allow collected
heat to escape. The process of opening an upper
window will create a chimney effect, drawing out
hot air from the high points and pulling in fresh
air from lower areas, therefore cooling the room.
more information on Passive Solar visit this month's
Featured Links found in 'Quick Links'. Article
in full © Design Forward. Image © Commonwealth
of Australia. References: http://www.greenbuilder.com,
Solar Guidelines... »
Normally the use of tankless water heaters is not
efficient. However, our friends at S.E.T.S. with
the help of NASA (yes, that NASA) have created a
whole house system that is 50% more efficient than
standard water heater systems. The system takes
up less space and creates an endless supply of hot
should be mentioned, however, that these systems
do not created the HOT water that you may be use
to from your home faucet. These systems are designed
to heat the water only to a reasonable temperature
for bathing. Get use to never turning your cold
water faucet on when you get into the shower.
water heaters are listed and/or certified by UL,
CEC (California Energy Commission) and HUD. Take
a little time and check out the systems for yourself.
off Takagi Gas Tankless Water Heaters for a limited
time only! »
Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable
Design. If you know of a project that should be
featured, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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please feel free to send an email or use the form
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you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining
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use the contact form.
Nobody would argue that the Newtons built their
house for anyone but themselves. Disregard for normal
societal amenities that are common by today's standards
produce an efficiently planned design. This home
was built with only one bathroom and one bedroom
(why would a couple need more?) and the small floor
plan also discounts the need for a separate dining
room. The house is built with exactly what is needed
- nothing more, nothing less. Built in Brisbane,
Australia, this Straw Bale house is designed to
maintain a temperature between 17°-26° centigrade
(62°-78° F) throughout the year. The design is carried
through two pods. The first pod is comprised of
the private area with the bedroom and bath, while
the second pod is the public section consisting
of the living room, kitchen and cellar, giving way
to a home office and a garage. The two pods are
elegantly connected with a courtyard. The footprint
of the house, both being minimal and built up on
posts decreases the disturbance to the earth below.
The careful planning of the floor plan is just an
indication to the in depth thought given to the
efficient building materials and applications.
owners spent a year researching sustainable design
concepts before starting on the project. Their
objective was to have a house which had minimal
impact on the environment both during construction
and throughout its lifetime. The owner, Chris
Newton states, "I feel it is critical that designers
acknowledge how the building and occupants will
continue to impact their environment after construction
is complete." With this in mind, the building
carefully mixes the basic sustainable concepts
and materials widely used today, with some more
remarkable 'green' elements: straw bale walls,
active & passive solar, thermal mass (mud brick
wall), recycled windows and doors, recycled timbers,
earthen floor, recycled grey water, dry composting
toilet, and water harvesting.
owners were not only involved as owner/builders
and scholars of sustainable concepts, but the
house was designed in part by one its owners,
Colin Newton (email@example.com), a
structural engineer at Mills Engineering, Brisbane
Australia. This home is a great example of what
one couple's personal research and persistence
achieved. Chris Newton, proudly states, "Family
and friends who doubted that we would live in
a 'normal house' are now telling us what a special
place we have."
more information on please visits the Newton's
website. Article in full © Design Forward