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This house is three-storey, rectangular in plan and located in the centre of Mexico City. On the ground floor it has a car park area, studio, greenhouse, vegetable and flower garden, inorganic waste material separation, living and dining room, kitchen, studio, bathroom, rainwater collection and storage system, rainwater absorption well and garden. The second floor has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The third floor has a studio, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, solar photovoltaics area, terrace and flower growing area. The roof has a storage area, solar collectors area and rainwater collection area.

Ground floor.

Ground floor.

Second floor.

Second floor.

ECOFEATURES EXPLAINED Bioclimatic design

Through the application of passive cooling and heating systems, good orientation, natural ventilation solutions, shading devices and evaporative cooling the entire house is naturally climatized, providing comfort conditions to occupants throughout the year.

Energy efficient

The orientation and site placement of the house provides optimal daylight to enter the house, therefore reducing the amount of energy used for lighting. A stand-alone photovoltaic solar system supplements artificial lighting with the use of energy-efficient fixtures and equipment. Good insulation standards for exterior walls and roof also reduce heating loads when solar heating provides space heat during underheated periods.

Materials

Regional stone, brick, concrete, earth landscaping and glass were the building materials used because they were locally available, builders were familiar with their application and because they have relatively low cost and low embodied energy. This simple and robust solution for building systems requires little user maintenance and is viable for a sustainable design.

Materials/element

U value (Wm-2 K)

Description

Walls Floor Roof

Windows

1.80 0.54 1.10 4.50

Solid brick and plaster Concrete slab and ceramic tile Concrete and polystyrene Glass and aluminium, solar protected

Ventilation

The house is naturally ventilated and windows have 'wing walls' to enhance air movement indoors. The windows are bay widows, with two lateral openings and the central one is fixed. The first opening is located in a high-pressure zone (in the downwind). The wing wall is upwind of the second window, which creates suction in front of it, providing effective natural ventilation into the rooms. Openings are located 30° from prevailing winds, which has been proven to be optimum for better ventilation. The doors have manually controlled upper and lower operable louvres for promoting air movement through the house as desired. During the summer, nocturnal ventilation takes place through the louvres. The east-facing garden and vegetation act as microclimate modulators, increasing the air movement indoors. Building surfaces act as powerful 'heat sinks', providing comfortable temperatures the following day. During the winter the louvres remain closed, reducing heat losses.

Air changes per hour

Lindavista House

Three average, and ten during overheating

season for nocturnal structural cooling

Typical house

Water is conserved through rainwater collection and storage systems that supply domestic water for all uses. Devices that save water consumption in water closets, showers and taps, etc. are also used. Used water from the kitchen and bathrooms (black water) is recycled to the water closet tank. Rain water (grey) is collected and stored for gardening.

Water consumption (m3 a 1)

Water purchase price a 1 (US$)

Lindavista House

42

48

Typical house

180

308

Savings

Total

138

260

%

77

84

Food and waste

At Lindavista House there is: sorting of waste within the home for local collection sites and the possibility for some recycling, compost production used in the garden and excess organic waste for use in intensive gardening, life-supporting systems by means of organic vegetable garden and orchard, reducing solid waste. Therefore, the energy-ecological systems integrated in the house provide high levels of self-sufficiency in energy, water and food and are aimed at providing energy savings, whilst improving economy, the natural environment and the quality of life. It is expected that this design premise eventually will generate a new energy, water and food production culture and that, in turn, will promote a favourable application of sustainable development nationwide.

Consumption

Cost of

Gas

Cost of

Total cost,

CO2

Construction

(kWh a-1/

electricity

consumption

gas, annual

annual

emissions

cost

kWh m-2 a-1)

(US$)

(la-1)

(US$)

(US$)

(tonnes a-1)

(US$ m-2)

Lindavista

2760/9.2

180

300

90

270

1880

315

House

Typical

4500/15

300

1 800

540

840

3065

300

house

Savings

Total

1740

120

1500

450

570

1185

-30

%

61

60

83

83

68

61

-5

Total annual savings

US$570 US$260 US$830

US$4500/US$830 a-1 = 5.4 years (Food production economic benefits from life-supporting vegetable garden and orchard not considered, but these can also contribute to reduce payback period even further.)

Electricity and gas

Water

Total

Payback period

Healthy construction

One of the main design premises was to promote healthy building. This was accomplished by the use of healthy building materials, organic as much as possible, without inducing health hazards. Natural ventilated and moisture-open construction provided a healthy outdoor environment. The use of plant materials and vegetation forms a natural barrier against heavy local pollution and dust. This not only promotes a healthy environment for the workers but also inactive neighbours.

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