Have you ever imagined a home that strikes a perfect balance between your lifestyle needs and the needs of Mother Nature? Yes, we are talking about a zero carbon home that fully meets the needs of the family living in it and also physically adapts to match their ever-changing lifestyle needs. Such a home exists in Pyle near Bridgend, Wales. It is said to require no input of energy from outside for 70% of the year, and it can provide much more electricity to the national grid during summertime than it needs to take during colder weather.
Can your Home be Comfortable on Zero-Carbon Living?
Image via: Designing Buildings
Great Britain’s First Smart Carbon Positive Energy House
Experts from Cardiff University have designed and built Great Britain’s first affordable, low-carbon, energy-positive home. Known as the “The Solcer House,” the residence produces much more electricity than its occupants can use. Designed by Professor Phil Jones and his team at the Welsh School of Architecture, it has been built as a part of the LCRI Program (Low Carbon Research Institute), and is supported by SPECIFIC at Swansea University. This prototype is the result of the tough targets for zero carbon housing set by the UK Government.
The Design and Working of the Solcer House
Situated on the site of Cenin Renewables Ltd in Pyle, near Bridgend, Solcer is a spacious and modern home following the “Buildings as Power Stations” concept developed by the SPECIFIC Innovation. It acts as a self-sustaining solar plant that sucks in energy from the sun rays and stores it in batteries on site. The house features a three bedroom 100m2 terrace unit having foundations that are locally sourced, such as low carbon cement, a structural insulated panel system as walls, external insulation, and low-emissivity, double-glazed, aluminum-clad timber frame windows and doors.
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Comfortable Zero Carbon Homes
Also, on a south facing wall, 17m2 transpired solar collectors (TSC) sit below a 40m2 integrated photovoltaic roof pitch. These include a perforated skin on the exterior of the house to draw air into the cavity and warm it using the sun rays. It is drawn into the residence as a low-cost means of heating by the use of ventilation. The energy that is not required immediately is stored in its 6.9-kWh battery. The average energy consumption of the house runs about $156 a month, but it can generate up to $273 in electricity when performing at its peak. Electricity stored and generated is used to power the hot water system, ventilation, heating, and the household appliances.
The Story Behind the Solcer House
In 2006, the British government passed a regulation that required all new houses built in the United Kingdom to be zero carbon by 2019. As a result, Solcer was intended to be a prototype to meet the required standard. Sadly, in July 2015, the government published a plan for growth “Fixing the Foundations” in which it stated it did not intend to proceed with the zero carbon homes initiative. But the team behind it remained optimistic and stated that energy positive homes could be even more affordable if the UK government got behind them and advocated that future constructions should be built using these technologies.
“Obviously we’re disappointed by the Government’s decision,” said Cardiff University Professor Phil Jones. “We hope that Welsh building regulations will still require zero carbon housing in due course, and the UK still has to meet stiff overall carbon reduction targets.”
The Cost of this Energy Positive Home
Constructed in only sixteen weeks, this zero carbon project cost builders just over $195,000, making it much affordable than the average house in most metropolitan areas. Moreover, promoters believe that per unit costs would drop to a great extent if several houses were to be built at the same time. Completed in February 2015, it was partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Wales European Funding Office.
Image via: Inhabitat
How Will you Reduce your Carbon Footprint?
A long-term sustainable solution to climate change and global warming requires that we all eliminate or at least substantially reduce the amount of carbon footprints emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. And one such solution to it is by constructing carbon positive or carbon zero homes like Solcer. Undoubtedly, these buildings will play an increasingly important role in the future to minimize global warming.
This project proves that the readily available technology can be utilized and optimized to build houses that are sustainable, comfortable to live in, and simple to use. Let us know what you think. Would you prefer to live in such a house?
Article sourced from Inhabitat