An energy saving-house – characteristics.
The economic house does not only mean that it was built from natural materials or the recycled ones. It is a combination of matching elements creating a whole. A minimal costs of the building’s exploitation is our goal. A properly insolated plot, the integrity of the building, the size of the windows, a proper arrangement of the rooms, a heating and ventilation system as well as the quality of the materials – all those elements guarantee the thrift of costs and energy.
The plot, construction and location of the house.
Having the plot well insolated, you have to choose an optimal project of the house as well as the arrangement of the land around it. In most cases, an energy-saving house is a simple block of the size of the rectangle. A building with the size limited to the inhabitants’ needs with a relatively small roof. A storied one with a shed roof would be the best choice. The location of the house should allow it to make use of as many sunbeams falling into the exterior walls as possible. The windows and bigger glazings from the south side play the role of sun wires which warm the air. Therefore, it is better to limit the windows from the north side to minimum or even give them up completely. Protecting the surrounding terrain from the pejorative influence of the meteorological conditions is another vital matter. You should plant deciduous trees in a spot where they will be far enough from the house, so they will not cast shadows. Conifers and bushes should be planted from the north side to isolate the house from the cold wind.
Insulation, ventilation, heating and arrangement of the rooms.
A house guarantees the costs’ reduction if it is leakproof, has thermal zones, accumulates the heat inside, circulates it in all rooms thanks to the ventilation and retrieves it. A perfectly tight building and a mechanical ventilation with a recuperator allow to retrieve the heat from the extracted air. It has to be thermically thick – two layers of the walls’ insulation and it also needs to make it impossible for the heat to escape – multi-chamber windows with at least three layers of glass. The heat pumps and condensing boilers, which are used also to acquire warm water, are nowadays a very popular heating system in energy-saving houses. Another option is a storage heater which collects the electric energy by night. It works cyclically and with a small power. A standard layout of the rooms (thermal zones) is yet another characteristic feature. The thermal zones are divided to the north ones – cold zones, designed for the utility rooms, and the south ones – designed for places where you spend most of your time.
Raw materials, which will be used for the construction of the house, must be environmentally friendly, so during their production as small amount of carbon oxides and sulfur as possible must be emitted to the atmosphere. Wood, stone, brick and clay, which are not much processed. Profile stone and bricks, which come from another house which has been taken apart, are equally good resources. Using old slates for covering the roofs and used railroad ties as semi-finished products is popular in the west Europe.
Warming a house and a roof is an important aspect. Usually, foamed polystyrene or mineral wool is used (recommended thickness is 20cm or even bigger). A less standard option is using the foamed polystyrene blocks filled with reinforced concrete.
Summarizing – an environmentally-friendly house uses much less energy than the conventional building. It is also a big expense. However, a rational approach to our expenses in the future is an