I originally planned on designing my home for the midwest region but decided to design a home with feature that could be used in any temperature climate, excluding the rigid cold arctic regions. I am really interested in the area of biomimetic architecture focsed on the design of the homes exterior walls and the geometry associated with the orientation of the exterior wall component that maximizes solar energ gain similar to the orientation of leaves on a tree. One of my AP Biology students did his seminar a few years back on a study done by a young high school student regarding placement of solar panels. He placed conventional solar panels in a FIBANACI sequence orientation, following the leave pattern arrangment of a tree, and had an average 30% increase is the solar energy gained from a linear arrangment of the same panels. I found this fascinating!! Here is a link to a summary of the article explaining this 13 year-old's project.
Here is my dream house from exterior to interior:
The exterior of the home will consitst of panels of "Living skin" construction oriented in a configuration that will maximize solar gain but minimize heat gain by using the natural angles of the sun calculated using algorithms derived from actual tree leaf configuratins. (SEE SECTION ON LIVING SKIN BELOW). I found a prototype home that was build in Spain the utilizes this type of "Fibonacci" arrangment of the buildings exterior.
A temporary, residential-scale building, located at Port Olympic is 1,650-square-foot "Endesa Pavilion" designed by students and faculty from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) with which Endesa has collaborated on several projects regarding smart energy management. Architect Rodrigo Rubio, who led the IAAC team, says the partnership resonates with the local university’s research of information and responsive technologies.
Some of those digital tools were responsible for the Endesa Pavilion’s accordion-like shape. The IAAC designers determined sun angles at Port Olympic and fed them into parametric design software. They also directed the algorithm to shape the building for maximum photovoltaic production, without sacrificing daylight penetration or solar thermal gain. Made mostly of plywood, the building was fabricated in IAAC’s digital production laboratory; pre-assembly and construction took five weeks. The Endesa Pavilion is actually a research prototype of a new solar-optimized prefabricated skin system . The exterior "skin" consists of a series of mass-customized modules, each of which includes a PV-clad side and at least one surface into which a window is inserted. The various surface areas and angles optimize both PV exposure and passive solar performance. “A wooden skin based on digitally designed components, parametrically adapted to their different orientations, behaves in the same way a tree’s leaves do. The components generate their own energy, and at the same time produce a micro-climate by controlling shadows, ventilation, [and] light.” 1
Here are a few photos of the prototype home exterior. For a complete slideshow of photos, click here:
The wooden panels are composed of simple, recycled plywood which heats and cools according to the sun's angle in such as way as to maximize light capture but minimize heat gain. I would like to add living skin technology to the walls in the home above, but keep the ARRANGEMENT of the exterior the same.
Living Skin Technology
One of our group members mentioned living wall technologies in this week's discussion thread. I found some research done on living wall exterioriors that include artificial stomata that control the ventialation and cooling of the home similar to the way a plant cools itself via evaporative cooling by transpiration. The project is being developed in CHINA as a way of minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing air purification. Research on this system is underway in a project termed Habitat 2020. This proejct is a future forward example of biomimetic architecture hat fuses high-tech ideas with basic cellular functions to create ‘living’ structures that operate like natural organisms. This nature-inspired approach to living looks at the urban landscape as a dynamic and ever-evolving ecosystem.2 The pictures below illustrate the stomatal openings. These openngs are composed of flexible "smart" metal material that expand, flex, and contract in response to changing external environmental conditions. (See Figures below):
The woman picture in the figure to the left is using the energy captured in the solar material (white, glass-like paneling underneath the artificial stomata) to turn on lights as needed.
Buildings that breath:
Two architects from Columbia Uniersity, Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin, whose company is called " The Living, have developed a prototype wall that “breathes.” Exploringthe idea of architecture that responds to internal or external conditions with movement, Yang and Benjamin came across shape memory alloy technology (SMA)—metals that temporarily change their shape at certain temperatures. The team built a prototype window that, on exposure to certain levels of CO2, automatically opens to allow fresh air to flow in. The window can be surprisingly thin, and free of bulky mechanisms. SMA wires are embedded in a pliable transparent plastic and connected to carbon dioxide sensors. When CO2 reaches a certain level, the wires contract, pulling open slits in the polymer. “Something like CO2 is not immediately visible and you cannot smell it, but
it is important to the environment of a room,” says Benjamin. “Too much CO2 makes a room stuffy.” 3 Their materials research holds promise for the stomate technology; pairing sensors with electrical conductive material so that the building reacts in "real-time" to environmental changes.
- "By combining the polymer with thin film photovoltaic strips, they could also make the skin self-powering. Benjamin has boundless optimism for this line of inquiry: “We do really think that people will fall in love with this idea of bringing architecture to life, and that it may capture the imagination of the general public in the way that it captured ours.”3
- "Highly efficient humidity-dependent motions in plants, such as the opening of seed pods or pine cones, has inspired the fabrication of various humidity-driven artificial actuators. However, humidity is difficult to precisely control in manipulating actuator motion. Light-driven actuators, on the other hand, would be much easier to use, because light can be controlled remotely and precisely."5
This research team developed a graphene oxide material that responds to small changes in humidity and temperature like a plant. This material can be used to coat the artificial stomata, making them responsive to tiny changes in humidity. The problem arises in the cost of producing this type of material. Sounds great, but expensive manufacturing costs must be considered when designing a home with this fine-tuned capability. Bottom line, the home exterior wall will respond to environmental changes, allow Co2 out, oxygen in and cool the home by controlling water movement into and out of the house, cooling the surfaces as the water evaporates.
To maximize the internal light of my home, I would like to combine two biomimetic technologies. The first technology derives its inspiration from fireflies. LED’s (light emitting diodes) are the top end of sustainable lighting fixtures – They have long life spans, are durable, mercury free and non-heat producing. LED’s are the most energy efficient bulbs on the market today, yet their high initial cost (even though over time is recouped due to minimal maintenance and long working life) has slowed their uptak. Biomimicry offers an alternative to this problem. Researchers have now found a way to drastically reduce the cost of LED bulbs by mimicking the internal structure of a fireflies light emitting abdomen.4 (See figure below)
Here is a cool video clip explaining the development of firefly photonics and LED technology. The first three minutes of the video clip discuss the technology..COOL COOL COOL
1"Best of Both Worlds." - Best Green Houses. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2014. <http://greensource.construction.com/features/bestgreenhouses/2012/10/1210-Best-of-Both-Worlds.asp>
2"HABITAT 2020: Future Smart ‘Living’ Architecture." Inhabitat Sustainable Design Innovation Eco Architecture Green Building HABITAT 2020 Future Smart Living Architecture Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2014. <http://inhabitat.com/habitat-2020-off-the-grid-future-abode/>.
3"Living Light: Revealing Air Quality through an Architectural Media Pavilion - Information Aesthetics." Living Light: Revealing Air Quality through an Architectural Media Pavilion - Information Aesthetics. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2014. <http://infosthetics.com/archives/2009/10/living_light.html>.
4"A Very Merry Bioluminescent Christmas." Littlegreenseed.com. N.p., 12 Dec. 2012. Web. 04 Aug. 2014. <http://littlegreenseed.wordpress.com/category/biomimicry/>.
5Ji, M., Jiang, N., Chang, J. and Sun, J. (2014), Near-Infrared Light-Driven, Highly Efficient Bilayer Actuators Based on Polydopamine-Modified Reduced Graphene Oxide. Adv. Funct. Mater.. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201401011