06 Earth-Sheltered Atrium Home Plans
06 EARTH-SHELTERED ATRIUM HOME
Earth-sheltered buildings are best protected against extreme temperature variations, storms, earthquakes, noise and even military air raids.
Thus, it was with these and passive solar design principles of internal heat zoning and compact planning in mind that this eco-house was designed.
Owing to oval shape of the inner atrium (court), the Living Room, Kitchen and Dining and Bedrooms all face maximum sunlight - sometimes from south, at other times from east and west. Special emphasis was placed on the Utility Room to shelter major electro-mechanical and solar equipment.
This eco-house would be ideally located in valleys and plains. The excavated earth could easily be used to top the building roof slab. The windows oriented towards the sun attract maximum solar radiation during cold season but are also provided with external reflecting surfaces and rigid insulating boards that are operated manually, which means that one can regulate the amount of sun needed throughout the day or year, or even shut completely during the night to store the solar heat collected during the day, thus acting as shutters.
An insulated vertical wind-catch | skylight provides natural cross-ventilation and lighting to the Living Room. At the foot of this skylight there is an aquaponic or hydroponic pond that is also used to cool the airflow. The wind-catch can also be oriented to face the prevailing winds in the area, hence maximising natural ventilation.
The entire roof area can be used for growing vegetables and fruits.
Another food source can also be given by the atrium pond, which in this case was designed as Zen Garden though it can be of any other shape or form. The atrium pond helps refresh the air while additionally accumulating solar heat for the building.
The focal point of the garden is an environmental sculpture made of Shape Memory Alloys (SMA), which changes shape every time there is a ±10°C (50°F) drop or rise in the surrounding temperature This means that Nature itself would shape the sculpture and its current look, so that it does not follow any artistic style or design rationale, its form being determined by the local environmental factors.
Earth-sheltered Atrium was optionally envisaged to include a stand-alone domestic wind turbine to produce electricity for the household. However, before considering buying and installing a wind turbine, make sure that you have adequate wind power in your surrounding area.
The wind turbine can produce enough energy to power the entire household. Given 5.4m/sec (12mph) wind speed, the turbine will produce as much as 500kWh per month which is enough to fully power this eco-house.
Masonry walls and foundations are made of recycled concrete blocks with recycled paper fillings. Recycled glass is used for floor insulation, as well. An insulating entry air-trap with sliding doors and tempered, insulated glass, provides more than adequate insulation at building entrance. All windows are sliding, double-glazed with optional bead-wall installation.
Water-saving sanitary ware has been used throughout the project. All services between the floors run through a vertical shaft, provided with an access panel for ease of inspection and maintenance.