A bare, seaside landscape may be beautiful to look at, but it also creates several challenges for architects interested in building an energy-efficient home. Plus Arquitectura couldn't rely on trees or even dunes to block the sun or the wind from entering their Y-house, so they created an interesting Y-shaped roof instead. Shaped this way, the roof not only cantilevers over the base of the house in order to provide shade for its residents, but also facilitates the easy installation of energy-generating solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system. Meanwhile, high performance windows placed strategically permit daylighting without excess radiation. The result is a rustic pine-clad home dotted with round portals of light that ensure constant views of the nearby Tunquén beach in Chile.
While the sun isn’t great for keeping a beach-home cool, it is a superb source of renewable energy. Plus Arquitectura played to the site’s strengths by incorporating solar panels onto the Y-shaped roof, and then blocked unwanted sun with glazed windows and passive design. Radiant heating and two double combustion fireplaces keep the building warm during cooler months, so this house definitely isn’t gobbling up a lot of energy to stay warm.
Rainwater is harvested, and since the property has been left to the wild, virtually no irrigation is necessary. Last year Chile experienced a dramatic earthquake that tipped the earth off its axis. We don’t know if this building meets code – it was built in 2009 after all – but we certainly hope so!