by Cynthia Booth

New Jersey school of architecture professor presents us how to construct an environmental-friendly home with limited funds

Did you know 2 New York based architects designed an asymmetrical home with a fixed cost of $250,000?

Architects and Jersey City residents Richard Garber (assistant tutor at the Newjersey Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in New York City rose to the challenge of designing and managing the construction of a single-family house that’s an authentic evidence of both revolutionary design and environmental-friendly technologies.

Denis Carpenter not too long ago bought one small vacant lot and, to accomplish his concern for the planet, wanted a house that was cost-efficient and easy to maintain.

What’s so exceptional about this home?

– In the home, on the floor level, radiant heating below the exposed cement floor gets warm the full bathing room and a couple of bedrooms.

– In the loft-like second level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, living room and an artfully designed kitchen made with salvaged home appliances and cabinetry.

– Passive air conditioning strategies like ceiling fans and clerestory windows make it easy for home owners to remain cool during summer months and warm during winter months.

– The roof consists of 260 sq ft of solar panels that provide nearly 2,000 kilowatts of energy annually to a battery stored in the basement.

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was constructed in six months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Now what? How could you convert your home into an environmentally-friendly home without investing too much money?

If you’re remodeling a home, perform an energy audit first to help you identify what energy efficiency improvements should and can be made to your home. In this way you’ll evaluate how much energy your home needs.

My personal favorite eco-friendly methodology is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar usually means that your home’s windows, walls, and floors can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar power in the form of heat in the winter season and reject solar heat in the summer time.

Existing houses can be adapted or “retrofitted” to passively collect and store solar heat too.

The next five aspects constitute a comprehensive passive solar home design:

The Collector – The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

The Absorber – The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

The Thermal Mass – The components that retain or store the heat produced by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

The Distributor – The system by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

The Controller – Roof overhangs may be used to shade the aperture area during warm weather or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.

The author – Cynthia Booth contributes articles for the <a href=””>architecture careers advice</a> blog. It’s a nonprofit web-site dedicated to provide help for beginning architects who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to raise the awareness on eco-friendly home design and change the general public conception of energy efficiency.

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