Nature 2, Proposal, Current Event

Nature 2: The second half of the book was much more boring than the first. There wasn’t so much “action” in this half (as in no burning of forests etc). I really don’t like the Romantic era writers (for the same reason I didn’t like the apocalypse book) and learned more than i ever would have wanted to from this book. I didn’t understand the political ties either. It seemed to me that communism/socialism/capitalism are different frames of mind than ecologism, and as much as the book tried to convince me otherwise I didn’t get it.

Current Event: 7 Earth-Sized Worlds Found Orbiting Star: Could Hold Life

7 earth-sized planets were found orbiting the same star (which is apparently pretty rare). 3 of the planets are within the area that could contain water, and if there’s water, there could be life.



Project Title: Make Tree House Sustainable Again
Project Participants: just me
Overview: With Tree House moving into one of the new SLUs, they’ll be losing the improvements they’ve made in their old house with the goal of improving sustainability. In the past 20 years or so a new style of house has been developed called Passive Housing. Passive housing is designed in certain ways so as to capture sunlight and circulate air to make artificial heating unnecessary. These houses generally cost 5-10% more than normal houses, though the cost is reduced the larger the building is. Building a passive duplex would (in theory) keep the cost on the low end compared to a stand-alone house. There are a lot of different components that make a house passive, with heating and ventilation being the main ones.
In the Northern hemisphere, the south-facing wall has large, triple-paned windows to catch as much sun as possible. The roof is designed so that in the summer the sun sits above the roof. The light can’t make it into the windows, hitting the roof (which usually has solar panels on it). In winter when the sun is at a lower angle it shines through the windows.
Heating is done through “comfort ventilation with highly heat recovery” or as the Germans say “Lüftungswärmerückgewinnung.” Ventilation is done mechanically, drawn in from outside the house into an MVHR system (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery). This transfers the heat from the air going out into the air going in, meaning the air inside the house stays at a consistent temperature.
My project will be to create a proposal to “submit” to the school (realistically they’re not going to implement this off one recommendation) to build the new SLU in a sustainable passive house way. I’ll go over the components of passive houses including the two main ones above, and show how they could be implemented specifically at OWU. I’ll also look at smaller separate things the house can do such as backyard composting to stay relatively environmentally friendly. I’ll try to somehow get drawings or diagrams (I’m a terrible artist but I know some good ones) since that’s always more interesting than just straight words.
Intro – here I’ll briefly explain what passive housing and sustainable housing are, when it was developed, where it’s used, etc.
Components – These subsections will go into detail about each “main part” of the house
Heating – I’ll explain the heating system, how the windows and roof are designed, why the orientation of the house matters, and how the insulation is set up.
Ventilation – This will go over the ventilation system, explaining what an MVHR system is and how air circulates throughout the house.
Electricity – This section will explain electricity requirements of passive houses (hint it’s pretty low) and how that can be generated.
Other – This is for any other eco-friendly options, like backyard composting (might talk about things like vertical/rooftop gardens although those wouldn’t be practical on this particular house).
3. Diagrams/pictures – Somehow I will get some examples of how the house could look (ideally similar to the SLUs on either side of it)
4. How it would work at OWU – Here I’ll explain how these things would be implemented specifically at OWU, such as dealing with the local climate
5. Costs – These houses are more expensive than normal houses. I’ll talk about how much more specifically, and what accounts for the higher costs.
6. Benefits – The slight cost increase has large benefits, which I’ll talk about here. These include things like net zero electricity costs etc.
Anderson, Elizabeth. Tree House resident
I’ve been talking to Elizabeth about what Tree House has done on their current house to increase sustainability, including adding special insulation.

Badescu, V., & Sucre, B. “Renewable energy for passive house heating: II. Model.” Energy and Buildings, 2003.
This article talks about how passive houses are heated, through sunlight, solar electricity, and ground reservoirs.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. “Ohio Programs.”
There are many incentives given out by the states to finance renewable energy, meaning that hypothetically, solar panels could be installed for free. I’ll look and see what could apply at OWU.

Earthship Biotecture. “Radically Sustainable Buildings.”
Earthships are the “pinnacle” of sustainable living. It’s unrealistic to build one for a SLU, but I’d like to look at elements of it that could possibly be used.

Environmental Protection Agency. “Backyard Composting: It’s Only Natural.” NSCEP, 2010. (hyperlink cuz the link’s too long).
This is a simple leaflet sort of thing about backyard composting. It covers the basics from setting it up to what to put in.

Figueiredo, A., Kämpf, J., Vicente, R. “Passive house optimization for Portugal: Overheating evaluation and energy performance.” Energy & Buildings, 2016.
This article talks about the problem of a house overheating being in too warm a climate. I could see this being a problem in Ohio (especially with humidity) so I’ll see what lessons they learned in Portugal.

Kuzman, M.K., Groselj, P., Ayrilmis, N., Zbasnik-Senegagnik, M. “Comparison of passive house construction types using analytic hierarchy process.” Energy & Buildings, 2013.
This article goes over the various materials used for building and their impact on efficiency. Since brick and wood are both common building materials in Ohio, I’ll look at which performs better.

Mullins, Seamus. “Rosslare Case Study, Passive House Cost Analysis.” 2010.
This is a breakdown of the extra costs of building a passive house. It outlines what each extra component costs and even has extra cost per square foot.

Passive House Institute US. “What Is a Passive Building?”
This site is a quick overview of the components of a passive house. It also includes a diagram for the air circulation inside the house.

Passive house Pty Ltd. “Ventilation & Heat/Energy Recovery.”—heat-energy-recovery
This site explains the ventilation system for the house. It explains what an MVHR is and has a diagram for how it works.

Rodriguez-Ubinas, E., Montero, C., & Porteros, S. “Passive design strategies and performance of Net Energy Plus houses.” Energy & Buildings, 2014.
This article talks about Net Energy Plus buildings, which produce more power than they use. This goes along very nicely with passive designs.

Schneiders, J., Feist, W., & Rongen, L. “Passive houses for different climate zones.” Energy & Buildings, 2015.
I’ll use this article to explain how passive heating will work in Ohio, especially during the freezing winters. The article talks about houses in Tokyo and Yekaterinburg, and Ohio winters fall somewhere in between the two.

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