Lascaux House

Who             Jesse Collette
When           Begin in 2024
Where          New Brunswick Canada
What            Off grid eco home and greenhouse
Why             Model home for research

“We have learned nothing in twelve thousand years” was Picassos remark upon seeing the Lascaux cave paintings for the first time. This is a sentiment that can be echoed in much of architecture today. Lascaux house is a rethinking of our habitats and how they function in the praxis of everyday life. The home amalgamates modern technologies with ancient principles to economize how it is built, how it functions and its life cycle. It is designed to be a living structure acting in symbiosis with nature. This off-grid home and greenhouse will be the model from which future designs will be rooted.

Some of the focuses for this project are longevity and low maintenance of the structure with near zero chemical or petroleum products. It uses as much local materials as possible while also reducing the amount of materials needed through practical design. We look at both the short term and long term carbon footprint of the materials used in the home as well was their impact on the well being of its occupants.

The primary building technique adopted for this home in rammed earth. Earth is the most available and localized material we have and is still widely used in other parts of the world today. It only makes sense in a northern climate to capitalize on the benefits inherent in using earth as a building material. Orientated and built properly, a rammed earth home can last centuries while taking advantage of passive solar gain by using the large mass walls for energy storage. This greatly reduces the energy needed to heat and cool the home. The structure is then capped with a green roof thats capable of collecting rain water.

Another important feature of the house is a centralized computer system thats fed data from censors integrated in the homes systems. This will help to economize how the home functions. The interface will provide information on all systems including energy collection, heat distribution and water quality to help optimize performance and ensure the health of living environment.

Most conventional homes energy consumption can be broken down into thirds. The first is the hot water heating. Here we decided to use an electric on demand hot water at points of use. Not only does this get rid of the need for a tank but also reduces all the copper pipes by fifty percent by only having to run a cold line, uninsulated. No longer are we loosing energy in water storage or movement. The point of use systems are also easier to replace and recycle parts than large water tanks. Note all copper lines will be full runs using brass pressure cuffs at the two ends. This eliminates the need for soldering which uses chemicals and gas in the torch. Copper will be used through out the home except where plastic is necessary such as the aquaponics system, for the sake of the fish, and drainage systems.

The second third of energy consumption comes from heating and cooling a typical home. This is where we need to look to our ancestors for wisdom. Orientation with the suns azimuth to better capitalize on passive solar gain and storage. Energy storage is provided by large mass walls made of rammed earth. The heating and cooling will be supplemented by a geothermal system implementing forced air instead of in flooring coils. This eliminates the need for long runs of coils in the floors that will need to be replaced in the future. The forced air system is designed into the architecture like the romans, utilizing natural convection to move air. This will reduce the energy needed to move heat through out the home and the material needed for the duct work. High efficient fans and censors will be used to ensure that heat is distributed where needed and provide ventilation when needed.

Another benefit of the geothermal system is the inherent characteristic of being underground. This home is designed for the Canadian climate and as such we have to contend with extreme seasonal changes. Geothermal has an advantage over other green energy technologies such as wind and solar because it’s not exposed to the weather, increasing the systems life span.

The final third of a homes energy is used on appliances, stereos, lighting, tools etc. This energy will be provided by a hybrid system of solar and wind. This optimizes energy collection by gathering solar during summer suns and winds during the winter months. Energy storage batteries and a computer control centre will be essential in regulating and controlling the energy system to ensure its efficiency and reliability.

To ease pressure on the system we look to reduce the energy needed to operate the home by using high efficient appliances such as a convection oven and stove in the kitchen.

Most of the lighting is LED for both their efficiency and longevity. Another feature of LED lights is that custom light spectrums can be used to emulate nature. They can be used in the greenhouse for grow lights to extend daytime light when needed and outdoor lighting can be that of the moon, reducing light pollution in the natural environment at night.

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Understanding how this design performs will be essential. It is these principles coupled with the research done at Solstice that will be incorporated into the Ocean Pearl Village.