Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Low Cost, Low Energy House for New Orleans in Louisiana by Sustainable.TO Architecture
June 1st, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Sustainable.TO
“Low Cost, Low Energy House” utilizes an efficient linear organization, which integrates both passive and active environmental systems with program, circulation and the building enclosure. The simple building shape lends itself to the demands of airtight, thermal bridge-free construction and allows the opportunity for more cost-effective, higher-quality prefabrication, proving that an affordable and sustainable house can also be attractive.
Entries in the challenge were required to meet the demanding energy-efficiency standards of the Passive House while also meeting post-Katrina building codes, guidelines and best practices. For post- Katrina New Orleans, the structure is raised 7 feet above grade, ensuring security in case of flooding, while allowing cooling air to circulate under the building. Additionally, this provides shaded living and parking spaces. Pier foundations minimize disturbance to the site.
The Passive House Standard demands a highly airtight building envelope, super-insulation and ultra-low energy consumption, which are provided here. The long axis of the house runs east/west, addressing the objectives of natural ventilation, daylighting, shading and solar heat gain.
Our entry evokes the architecture of the traditional New Orleans shotgun house, a style popular in the region in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Shotgun houses were typically constructed of local cypress wood frame construction and siding. High ceilings and the absence of hallways allow for efficient crossventilation and cooling in each room.
“Typically, the rooms of the house would be aligned in a row, with no hallways,” sustainable.TO’s review says. “One would walk from one end of the house to the other by going through each of the rooms. Our contemporary reinterpretation of the shotgun maintains the local cypress wood construction and natural cooling elements, while allowing for greater privacy, as expected in the 21st century.”
The design’s open living plan optimizes natural air flow and daylighting. The corridor opens southward to a flexible cantilevered side gallery that wraps around the house, providing shaded outdoor living space, similar to that of a north shore shotgun style. The flexible boundary between the corridor and gallery can adapt to the changing needs of the family throughout the seasons.
The south facade’s deep roof overhang provides passive solar protection for the building’s interior in the summer, while allowing passive solar heat gain in the winter. Sliding panels on the south facade offer flexibility and protection from the sun, rain and wind when required. The highly reflective, selfventing, recyclable galvalume roof and wall cladding provides a lasting ‘lifetime’ cladding material, which effectively minimizes solar heat gain and further protects the recessed local cypress cladding.
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