The central volume is constructed of 12-1/4″ thick structural insulated panels, which have an R-value of 58. Not only are the SIP panels self-supporting, the lightweight pre-cut panels require little energy to transport, and are easily assembled with manual tools and labor at the job site. Fenestration and doorways are achieved by cutting holes through the structural insulated panels, and then capping with standard flashed operable skylight and storefront systems.
Formally, the surfaces of the volume are angled to maximize solar and water harvesting. The sun facing exterior surfaces are covered by a new product which is a single roofing membrane coated in a photovoltaic film, which converts solar radiation into electricity. The power generated by the PV skin is stored in deep cycle batteries located in the floor slab.
During sunny conditions, the skin produces enough electricity to meet all of the electrical needs of HYBRID HOUSE, as well as a surplus, which is stored in additional reserve batteries. In the absence of sunlight the batteries are charged in part by a bio fuel generator located in the utility accessory building. The shade facing facades are covered in a “cool roof” single-ply membrane, which is applied on site in strips. The rubber membrane sheds water from rainfall into a water catchment system, for re-use in grey water systems, such as toilets, as well as for irrigation of the exterior yard. The moat has the added function of cooling air that passes over it before it enters into the thermal slab. A pond in the rear yard that is attached to the water shedding system cools the surrounding garden in the summer months through evaporation, while also filtering dust particles out of the air.
Hot air and cold air are mechanically introduced at the floor level through a displacement ventilation system.
This system is fed by fresh air from the exterior, which is tempered by the poured concrete thermal slab atop which the home sits. The lofty height of the interior creates a “stack effect”, with hot air rising above the common areas before being re-conditioned or expelled. Electrical venting skylights at the ceiling open to expel accumulated hot air during the summer months, while admitting warming sunlight into the space during the winter months.
The sleeping quarters are isolated from the larger living space, allowing for targeted heating and cooling during the evenings, reducing heating and cooling demands in the main space. Heating in is provided by heat pump supplied through the floor slots. Hot water heating loads are also reduced through the use of a solar water-heating panel located at the roof, with additional heating provided by an electric water heater connected to the photovoltaic system. A rear utility shed acts as the mechanical room, containing the electric converters and bio-fuel generator. Its separation allows for segregation of noise from the house.