There are green houses and then there green houses. Zoka Zola’s Zero Energy House which is currently being designed for a space on Adams street in Chicago, is as green as it gets. When it is completed, the 3 story, single-family home will be completely self-sufficient: consuming zero energy except for that which is generated on-site with solar panels and wind turbines.
For most run-of-the-mills homes, solar and wind energy would not be enough to power a single-family house. The Zero Energy house, however, has been specifically designed to maximize light, heat and energy intake in the way it is positioned in relation to the sun, wind and landscaped elements like trees. Architect Zoka Zola has specifically mapped out the location of the sun (and corresponding shade) at various points during the year to ensure that the Zero Energy House is always energy efficient, wind rain, or shine.
In summer, the operable windows allow cross ventilation. The tree in the south garden shades the house from the sun. In winter, warm sunlight floods the shallow rooms through large south-facing windows, heating the exposed concrete interior walls, creating a thermal mass which will warm the building throughout the night.
The building is surrounded by plants to help insulate it from the heat and cold. The building’s exterior is draped with ivy, while mosses, herbs and grasses covers the building’s roofs. The accessible green roof encourages bio-diversity and will absorb water runoff, while insulating the interior and protecting the roof from thermal shock and ultra violet deterioration.
The architect says “We would like this building to be an inspiration to other homeowners and developers in urban environments.”
Count me inspired.