Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pretty Simple

Sometimes the clarity of very simple strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment deserve a heads up. An example here is from the new 2030 Palette blog. As you can see from the photo, the roof of this structure is kind of a unique approach to sunshade principles as well as the strategic use of solar insolation for heating purposes.

While this model is not appropriate for high wind areas or those susceptible to hurricane forces, the design of this residence adapts key passive strategies to conserve energy. The roof itself is separate from the much more massive concrete structure, which is oriented facing north. At the same time it shades the heavy concrete structure from the sun (heat of mass), it collects rainwater that runs off into storage barrels on the south side that are exposed to direct sun which heats the water in the barrels. The shade overhang provides outdoor living spaces as well as keeping the direct solar gain from being absorbed by the concrete structure, while providing necessary ventilation space. It's a very elegant and simple solution that integrates the structure into the site and minimizes its energy consumption.

The 2030 Challenge is one that has been adopted by the building industry independently of global agreements and carbon reduction goals, primarily because of the recognition that these agreements are lacking, and are apt to be too little too late.

We can't wait any longer for the endless global negotiations to resolve the many small actions that must take place sooner rather than later, and establish an ethic of living within the natural means and boundaries of the energy in the ecosphere. This energy balance does not include carbon that is extracted from long-buried fossil fuels, which should have stayed entombed in the earth's mantle.