This experimental bamboo home is helping to set the pace for sustainable growth in China. Milan-based Studio Cardenas designed Energy Efficient Bamboo House, a home with a minimal carbon footprint and Feng Shui-inspired construction. Located in the Longquan International Bamboo Commune in Zhejiang, the energy-saving abode uses locally available natural materials to create a cost-effective building that saves substantially on energy use.
The architects built the house primarily out of bamboo, a renewable material that grows in abundance in the Baoxi area. “For the structure of the Energy Efficient Bamboo House we explored new ways of building using bamboo as a construction material,” wrote Studio Cardenas. “Sustainability for us is not only the use of natural materials such as bamboo but to design appropriate construction solutions.” To that end, the architects developed a modular “industrialized bamboo construction system” with precise geometry and lightweight aluminum connections to allow for easy expansion, disassembly, and transport.
Drawing upon the building’s Chinese context, the architects applied Feng Shui principles to the layout, which comprises nine squares on each floor. The interior is mostly open plan with minimal dividing walls to allow positive energy (Qi) and natural ventilation to flow freely. The modular bamboo construction sits on a rammed earth base that houses the technical room, while gray Chinese clay tiles clad the exterior and terra-cotta clay tops the roof.
To minimize energy use, the Energy Efficient Bamboo House uses groundwater coupled with a geothermal heat pump for indoor heating and cooling. Since this system takes advantage of earth’s naturally stabilized temperatures, it’s at least 25 percent more energy efficient than conventional systems and is estimated to use 15 percent less energy than traditional chiller plants.