Low Energy Housing Article

Finally manage to get the low energy housing article off the drawing board  and sent to a British Architectural Journal for approval.

low energy article

Opening words

To produce an article on a“ low energy house” would have been impossible without including the philosophical reasoning behind wanting to create a life-changing situation for a future way of living and for it to not be just another box to live in. I can only join the club with others who have done the same and hopefully one day this momentum will be set a pace amongst the standard and not an idea that has to be sold to the general public, as its not only about answering the environmental questions it’s about a better financial lifestyle that comes with smaller monthly payments which in return frees up more quality spare time for creative thinking and innovative ideas to grow.

It’s a life change, a Philosophy…call it want you want. It just runs parallel with the rat race you once knew.

How it got started.

You can’t expect the general public to change if you’re not prepared to make that change yourself. So when the general public hear the passion in your voice and can visually see, touch a low energy house it might start clicking in people’s minds. I was awakening to questions we were all thinking; escalating living costs, fuel bills, the environment, quality of life, so I guess for me it was an architectural response to these questions. No one protected the public from energy price hikes so rather than play their game I would rather invest in my own 10 year energy forecast demands which have turned out to be a lot cheaper, considerably more fuel efficient and topping it off greener. We are Individually responsible for our actions, these changes should come from within and not the responsibility of our governments making these choices for us, why should they. Why should we let them?

Why Germany

Well its Infrastructure is complete and in place, it had a wide availability of tested products, it has a trained national work force and has that shift in the general publics’ awareness to “man in his environment” as well as a political shift towards the greens was a good start. Having a local authority into it and the image that its “cool to be green” obviously helps. Individual awareness’ with a government whole feel the same and of coarse you’re going to successfully reach that 10:10 target. For a country situated that far north it has an impressive amount of private and government solar panel investments in their country but this really is the tip of the iceberg. Sorry guys but they really are miles ahead when it comes to a greener why of life, I’m not writing it with information I have collected from the internet but by spending 7 years in Germany and a further 9 years across other European Countries.

Categorizing low energy

I think it is what warrants a house to be tagged “low energy” that’s the important thing. I’m not saying all but whilst researching “low energy” houses for sale in the UK I was shocked to see the amount of pathetic estate agent sales jargon used to over whelm the public. Sorry, to me it’s more than just low wattage light bulbs and fitting a low energy deep fill freezer to help sell your home. Some home’s I viewed had little more than the above to warrant the rights to market it in this category, One house in particular I reviewed had nothing more to offer than a professionally fitted compost bin in the kitchen! And was selling as an “eco” house.

Next Steps

While the world talks about it some of us are going to have to get on with it. We are at a point where the world finally see’s it but doesn’t know how to change it. Information in the industry needs to become more open, shared, make it “transparent” solving problems together and having an open source of information. Financially I’m not sure how but projects need more time at the beginning. It needs to grow with time, yet the current speed of creating a development removes this thinking time. After the site survey is plotted it becomes a 2D technical interpretation and the only reason returning to the land is because something didn’t turn out right in the survey. Passive solar design was practised by the Ancient Greeks as early as the 5thCentury BC. By the 4thCentury BC, whole cities were planned such as Priene. This thinking is starting again now.

The land you just surveyed has more to offer than just a Monday morning excuse to get out the office for a flask of coffee a fag (cigarette to the US audience) and jotting down a few “check measurements” don’t worry we’ve all been there 🙂 Today we need to know everything about the land before we put pen to paper.

Final words

Lets stay with it. As they say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day” I could have bailed out in 93 the disastrous year I qualified and the year the building Industry collapsed but I didn’t. I stayed with an industry I believe in. I could have changed to something else many a time but I stayed with it. While I watched friends change and have fun in industries that were hip and cool I stayed put. Our time is to come, buildings are changing and “our” scene is going to help make those changes. I hope it gives me an opportunity to work with others a like and on the same page.

News from the house as I write the article

17th September 2009

Location: Tubingen, Germany

Weather: Rain

Outside Temperature: 16

Inside Temperature: 21

It’s been raining all week and the outlook is rain with sunny spells and 18 degrees. There’s still enough solar glare to keep the internal temperature comfortable but the solar system is now running on just the minimum to supply the hot water demands so it will be time shortly to start lighting the wood stove. Carrying up and preparing 3 stairs of wood is maybe what some people will find as a downside by having to do something strenuous wheel barrowing up 30 loads of wood but that’s your winter heating investment just done.

Yearly running costs: €660-00 / €55-00 a month.

Date 9th October. House design performing well. Stove still not lit.

….even managed to get my Portfolio finished and ready to send out to the world. A selection of pages below taken as a screen shot. Available as a 37 page PDF binder. 1.5mb.

nick chapple_portfolio


One thought on “Low Energy Housing Article

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « Nick Chapple

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s