By Jody McCutcheon
We have small homes and we have smart homes. Now we have a small, smart home. The NOEM Eco-House 3.0 relies on bio-climatic technology, and it’s all about sustainability, both economic and environmental. NOEM’s economic sustainability refers to efficient digital design and manufacture, while environmental sustainability concerns the use of local, renewable materials in manufacture and the completed dwelling’s intelligent facilitation of energy efficiency.
Employing a quick, clean building process, the Eco-House 3.0 goes from design to finished product in just ten weeks. It’s digitally constructed without human intervention using laser-guided cutting machines that ensure pinpoint accuracy. The dwelling consists of two prefab wood modular structures built from locally sourced, PEFC-certified pine and spruce. The larger module contains a living room and kitchen, the smaller one a double bedroom, bathroom and study. The front module includes a porch area with an automated awning. All told, the dwelling’s total floor area is 96m2.
The Eco-House 3.0 places great emphasis on respect for the local environment. To achieve energy efficiency, the location’s plot and meteorological databases are rigorously analysed so as to anticipate the house’s future “behaviour” and thus its energy requirements. Assessed variables include seasonal sun path, shadows from surrounding houses, local wind patterns, average temperature, rainfall, humidity, and many more. No wonder the Eco-House 3.0 is described in its press release as “made-to-measure” in regards to the owner’s specific energy needs.
Energy efficiency is achieved through sensors and actuators that operate via an automated switchboard to monitor and moderate temperature, humidity, energy consumption, sunlight and air quality. The various efficiencies are staggering. The Eco-House 3.0 proudly boasts Class A energy consumption (15.05kWh/m2), which is a ninety percent savings over traditional dwellings. It creates a negative carbon dioxide footprint of 56.95kgCO2/m2, a ninety-five percent reduction from conventional homes, or an amount equaling the emissions of a car travelling four and a half times around the earth’s circumference. And through rainwater collection systems, water consumption is sixty percent less than that of traditional homes.
The Eco-House 3.0 utilizes common climate-control strategies of “passive” houses. Natural daylight is exploited by optimal positioning of the awning, windows, terraces and reflective surfaces (including solar panels), while temperature is moderated by the use of canopies, patios and green vegetation. In winter, solar radiation is used to naturally heat the home; while in summer, cross-ventilation naturally cools the home.
The aforementioned switchboard capabilities are all fully automated and interconnected online. Thus, for example, the HVAC system is connected to the weather forecast, the mechanical ventilation system opens or closes depending on carbon dioxide levels, and blinds are automatically raised or lowered, and the awning extended or retracted, to regulate desired temperature and sunlight levels. The owner controls all this via smartphone, and can also check energy levels, such as the electrical production of solar panels, or the amount of hot water available in the water tank, or total household electricity consumption.
Technology is getting smaller and smarter every day, but the NOEM eco hosue lives ahead of the curve. In the Eco-House 3.0, comfort and energy efficiency have never been so convenient.
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Images: © Meritxell Arjalaguer