Thursday, March 13, 2008

What is an energy-efficient room?

In winter, we use heater for our house. In summer, air conditioner. Ordinary central heating system....nothing fancy. But is it just me who feel guilty to keep warming /cooling the rooms that nobody is using?

Typical North-American style home does not have many partitions between rooms. I can't stop feeling guilty to central-heat the house that ends up heating/cooling the space that nobody is occupying.

I don't mind living in rather a small house with doors in each room with localized heating equipments, because it is an easy way to reduce my carbon/ecological footprint. But I have never seen such a house, at least here in California. This idea wouldn't sell, I know.

So......what is the middle ground?

Japanese old style house uses fusuma (pic) and shoji for door/wall. Basically, it is a wall made of 4 to 6 panels that slide on the rail. If you wanted, you can leave 2-4 panels open, or close them all, or take them out all, depending on the weather, and the number of people you are accommodating. (With this old Japanese style, you can take the fusumas out and use two or three rooms altogether for gathering)

Most Japanese no longer live in such a traditional old style house. But I just wonder if this concept of "adjustable wall/door", hand in hand with localized heating/air conditioning system, somehow, can be Incorporated in eco-housing or energy-efficient home design.

Any views from professionals?

photo above by: yo kelley yo
photo below by: yuki yaginuma


Alexander Rozko said...

This is a wonderful concept and still has function in todays living. Although the aesthetics have changed, the concept remains.

Architects are using plumbing systems as natural heating and cooling elements. Integrated floor systems are being introduced now. Even ECO fireplaces now exist.

The modular wall idea now serves more for specific needs and room functions, than controlling temperature. Not to say it can serve a dual purpose, which it can and should.

An intuitive architect will also consider natural ways of controlling these elements. For example, implementing horticulture into the design.

Glass as well has come a long way and has the ability to regulate the UV transmitted, as well as optical light allowed.

Plus there's always opening a window!

Thanks for the interesting topic and I appreciate the post.

eco-samurai said...

Thanks for the comment! It will be very nice if all the elements that you have described, together with other concepts that haven't yet exlored, become much more accessible to everyone, and reasonably.
Probably current high energy price will boost more demand for energy-efficient housing?