Following text provided by the architects
With a rapidly growing economy, and as the world’s most populous nation, China faces great stresses on its resources and environment. China therefore presents a paradigmatic test case for environmental
sustainability in the 21st Century. The opportunity to design an Energy Efficient Experimental House in
Baoxi 宝溪乡 浙江省for LIB (Longquan International Bamboo Commune), in the context of the new policies for sustainable growth of China, is very current and important other than interesting and challenging!
Our proposal explores the potentiality of minimize carbon emissions, to maximize environmental protection and natural ecological development through the use of the natural elements available at Baoxi area, such as sun, water, plants, wind and natural materials to achieve a high standard innovative house for the Chinese context.
The topics that we considered for the design of the Energy Bamboo House are the following:
– Bamboo, is a very special natural element present in Baoxi area which we use as structural element for the house as well as for the interiors;
– Ground water cooling, underground water is an interesting natural resource available on site. Use underground water in a very simple manner to create a cooling system and also use for toilets where
non-drinking water is acceptable;
– Feng shui, to learn and apply the most significant concepts of this antique Chinese tradition to the house design;
– Modularity and Industrialization, to create modular elements with the scope of creating an innovative industrialized bamboo construction system.
Bamboo is the plant that absorbs the most carbon dioxide during its life cycle, it is ready to be used for construction in about 3 years and grows much faster than any tree species. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency shows that China has already become the predominant source of carbon dioxide, the main global warming emission. The use of bamboo in this context is very current, especially because the site is near to the Forest Sea of Zhejiang, therefore bamboo is a natural resource of Baoxi Longquan. For the structure of the Energy Efficient Bamboo House we explored new ways of building using bamboo as a construction material. Sustainability for us is not only the use of natural materials such as bamboo but to design appropriate construction solutions.
Based on our experience we approached sustainability by:
– Designing dry-mounted connections not to weaken bamboo through perforation nor fill it in with concrete, and also to allow the replacement of bamboo poles if needed;
– Designing aluminium connections light and easy to assemble in order that the construction can be done by local workers;
– Using same length of bamboo poles to achieve standardization and best quality control;
– Combining bamboo (vegetable steel) and steel to create an industrialized construction system;
– Applying a precise geometry (Golden proportion – Aurea) to achieve standardization of the pieces, best quality control and harmonic visual impact.
Starting from Bagua we organized the spaces of the house in order to offer the best orientation for improving life by receiving positive energy (Qi). Nine squares compose the areas of each floor of the house. The patio is an important space where energy flows and fills in the house with it. The interior spaces are mostly open-plan with minimum amount of division walls to allow positive energy (Qi) to flow freely. Qi must enter slowly and move around the house then come out after giving benefit to all areas of the house without ever stagnate inside.
The house was designed on a modular grid, 9 squares as Feng Shui suggests. All pieces of the house will be modular as much as possible envisioning an industrialized production. We applied the Golden Proportion (Aurea)ideal for modularity. Our challenge was innovation of bamboo construction!
Ground Water Cooling
Using the underground water is for the house the most interesting and sustainable solution, using a geothermal heat pump, which cools as well as heats the house. It’s incredibly efficient compared with the usual cooling and heating systems — at least 25% more efficient, and often much more. This means substantial savings on utilities. The system relies on a natural phenomenon. By digging into the earth the temperature is stable no matter what the season, no matter what the temperature above ground. By taking advantage of this more constant, even temperature, we can heat or cool the house. It is estimated that these systems use 15% less of the amount of energy a traditional chiller plant would use.
The materials and colors for the house are:
– Bamboo and aluminum joints for the main structure and for the interior finishings;
– Rammed Earth walls for the ground floor which holds the technical room and for landscape walls;
– Chinese clay tiles grey color for the exterior walls;
– Terracotta clay for the roof;
– Water for cooling;
– Plants for the terrace and garden;
– Sun and wind as intangible natural materials.