Harvard unveils Snhetta-designed HouseZero for sustainable, plus-energy living

December 4, 2018 by  
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The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design has just completed HouseZero, an energy-positive living lab for sustainable architecture. Designed by renowned architecture firm Snøhetta , along with Skanska Teknikk Norway , the groundbreaking building aims to produce more energy over its lifetime than it consumes. Hundreds of sensors are embedded inside of HouseZero to continually monitor energy performance and advance data-driven research to help produce more energy-efficient and sustainable architecture. Billed as “an energy-positive prototype for ultra-efficiency,” the HouseZero living lab is set in a retrofitted pre-1940s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The renovated structure aims to meet near zero-energy targets for heating and cooling, use zero electric lighting during the day, produce zero carbon emissions and operate with 100 percent natural ventilation. The working prototype will serve as a research tool for understanding energy inefficiencies in existing buildings as a means to curb the current and future building stock’s impact on climate change while simultaneously helping property owners save on energy costs. “HouseZero’s flexible, data-driven infrastructure will allow us to further research that demystifies building behavior, and design the next generation of ultra-efficient structures,” said Ali Malkawi, founding director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities and the creator and leader of the HouseZero project. “By creating both a prototype and an infrastructure for long-term research, we hope to raise interest in ultra-efficient retrofits and inspire substantial shifts in the design and operation of buildings.” Related: Snøhetta designs an energy-positive data center to fight climate change A combination of low-tech and cutting-edge technologies is used in HouseZero to meet the ambitious energy targets. In addition to passive design strategies and operable windows, for instance, the building is equipped with a window actuation system that uses sensors and a computer system to automatically open and close windows. Using data collected over time, the building will “adjust itself constantly” throughout the seasons to create a healthy and thermally optimized environment year-round. + HouseZero Photographer Credit: Michael Grimm

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Harvard unveils Snhetta-designed HouseZero for sustainable, plus-energy living

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