The S11 Green tropical house

Green tropical house 1
This family bungalow is located in an established older suburb of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The existing old house on the site was built in the early 1960s and had become dilapidated and rundown over the years. A new Green tropical house was planned for the site and conceptualized based on the natural workings of a tree—having a large canopy under which the living spaces would be protected and sheltered.
There were five significant existing trees on the site. All were retained and the new house was set in the midst of them. Much of demolished old house materials were reused. Old crushed concrete roof tiles for gravel fill, old clay bricks were cleaned and reuse for feature walls, roofing timbers were used for formwork strutting and propping, old steel were all sold off to steel yards, crush concrete and cement aprons were reused for backfilling aggregate.
The S11 House has a clear north-south orientation for all its openings and windows. The east and west walls were deliberate void of any significant glazed openings and were constructed out of better insulated aerated lightweight concrete blocks. In addition they were coated in heat reflecting paint and also shaded by a wire netting screen wall of fruit and vegetable climbers. These help reduce much of the heat gain through the east and west walls. The large tree-like canopy roof is constructed out of lightweight recyclable profiled steel metal sheets coated in a light off-white color to minimize heat absorption. The roof insulation comprises 200-mm-thick, 50kg/m3 rockwool and two layers of heat reflective foil. A 200-mm-thick ventilated air space is left between the m ceiling lining and the rockwool to further improve heat insulation. The overall roof U value is 0.14. The glazing comprises 9.38 thick low-E safety laminated glass with a 90 percent openable area. The overall building envelope OTTV is 29.63.
A specially designed system of wind turbines combined with steel framed glazed pyramids provides the house with stack effect ventilation and light pipes. These 15 turbines are driven both by wind and convection when the air within the glass pyramids heat up as a result of the greenhouse effect. A 3-degree differential is enough to spin the turbines by convection. The large canopy roof is pitched at 5 degrees to facilitate self cleaning of roofing material and solar panels. A 5KW peak photovoltaic installation is mounted onto the large canopy roof and the generated electricity is sold back to the national electric grid. The solar hot water heaters are also located on the large roof area.
canopy roof drains directly into a series of rainwater harvesting tanks. These are aligned in series for sedimentation control and water from the last tank is used for all toilet flushing, gardening and car washing requirements. All tap fittings and sanitary wares have water saving and reduction valves.
The majority of the house has bare natural finishes—raw off-form concrete walls and ceilings, cement plastered walls without paint, and natural fair-faced common red clay brickwork. Stonework for bathrooms, driveway and ground floor living areas all come from project rejects. The timber flooring and upper decks are all FSC-certified whilst the ground floor decking timbers are old recycled chengal collected over many years. Limited surfaces are painted with low-VOC paints. All internal joinery work has low-VOC content and also used water based glues. The 1m by 1m modular book shelves are all made from recycled waste plywood off-cuts with low-VOC coatings and water-based glues. The modules are stackable and can be relocated easily.
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The double volume family room is located on the first floor and the 7-meter-high full sliding glass walls facilitate maximum cross ventilation whilst also opening up the entire internal living space unto the outdoor deck. Lighting for the house are predominantly energy-saving T5 tubes, LEDs and compact fluorescents. The house has full home office capability with Cat5 fiber-optics and broadband connections.
The swimming pool and koi pond are located at the two extreme north-south ends and provide evaporative cooling for the house. Blackwater is treated in an onsite sewerage treatment plant and the recycled water is used for garden irrigation. A composting yard treats all the household organic and garden wastes and provides high grade compost fertilizer for the vegetable and fruit gardens. All new trees and plants are tropical natives that are generally maintenance free and suitable for the Malaysian climate.
The S11 House is Malaysia's first Green Building Index Platinum-rated tropical house and has won the Gold medal in the Edge-PAM Green Home Award 2011.
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