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What is Sustainable Architecture?

Sustainable architecture is architecture that seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space. Sustainable architecture uses a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation in the design of the built environment.

The idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.


Below: Sustainable House Design: Sustainable Architecture Amidst The Rockies 

 ( 7 Sept 2012)

At an elevation of 9,200 feet in Aspen, Colorado, Voorsanger Architects tackled the challenging landscape while building the Wildcat Ridge Residence. With alpine vistas on the horizon, architects focused on the transparency of the building, allowing for maximum views of the mountains without competing with their scale. The design incorporates three major elements responding to its spectacular site: a dramatic folded plate roof, an immense moss rock wall marking the division between the east and west wings of the building, and large expanses of exterior glass. By following the longitudinal parallel of the crest of the mountain with the public rooms, study, and master bedroom oriented west toward dramatic views. Guest bedrooms have an eastern orientation with views of the receding mountain ranges. Exquisite black walnut finish for the floors, walls and ceilings. With an exterior of local sandstone and stucco, seventy-two geo-thermal wells and a generator provide the house with sustainable energy. Rendering the home virtually independent from outside support services. The wells heat the driveways, pool and house during the cold winter months while cooling the space during the summer, without depleting any fossil fuels.



Geo-thermal system: Image below shows a typical control chamber of such a system 

'Here's a neat shot of the Radiant Heat side of the system.  Hot water from the DHW tank (see below)  feeds the Heat exchanger (a) on the left.  This heats the circulating slab loop water.  This heated water feeds the 4 zone pumps (c) via a mixing valve (b) to limit the thermal shock to the slab.  Water flows past the Temp gauge (d) and through the one way valve (e), past the air bleed (f) and down to the hot water manifold (g) for Zone # 3.  Returning cool water is collected by the cold water manifold (h), flows past the expansion tank (i) and back into the heat exchanger.  The makeup valve(j) ensures that the loops are always pressurized.  You can also follow the flow for the 3 other zones.  The zone pumps (circulators) are switched on/off by the relays in the zone controller (k)'. For more images and diagrams see link to website below.

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