Think a system for converting even half your household’s energy consumption to solar is still too expensive? The e-House2000, a project in upstate New York, spearheaded by architect Michael McDonough, is examining alternative energy sources. The house can use solar energy for the emergency generator because everything in the house is efficient enough to work on 2 kilowatts for three days, without ever purchasing or storing gasoline.
E-House is also experimenting with the concept of a smart Web-based living space that is healthy and environmentally friendly.
The key will be PC-based systems, which will make decisions for the homeowner about energy conservation, air quality, or emergency situations, for example.
“I imagine that the [system] senses a power failure, switches the house to emergency fuel cell or photovoltaic UPS, then load-sheds or turns energy-inefficient appliances off so they do not draw down the reserve batteries,” McDonough says.
His firm is discussing the implementation of this “supervisory control and data acquisition” (SCADA) system with several companies, but may end up writing its own software.
E-House (www.michaelmcdonough.com/ehouse/) is a model being used as a testing facility for different ideas and theories—from recycled building materials to automated home systems—but e-House also incorporates technology available on the market today, like geothermal heating, and is a good place to look for environmentally conscientious building ideas.
Sustainable Sources: www.greenbuilder.com
GreenSpec, The Environmental Building News Product Director: www.greenspec.com
Sustainable Architecture Building and Cultur: www.sustainableabc.com
Beyond Waste Salvaging and Resale of Used Building Materials: www.sonic.net/~precycle/index.html
Alternative Building Materials: www.worldguide.com/Tech/Materials/build.html