Open house architecture for sustainability

open house archi p2 open house archi p1

SUSTAINABILITY, Open House Architecture

An important aspect of the design is sustainability. There are simple solutions incorporated into the design, like the orientation of the house, which provides natural shielding. We try to encourage the usage of local and sustainable materials, as the materials used in the folk architecture of the past were also local materials.

The concrete we use today is produced locally; factories are easily found anywhere in a 50-80 km radius. These factories take up a lot of energy and are responsible for sizable CO2 emissions.  However, the concrete is durable and will last for a century. The wood is a traditional local material, although today it usually does not come from the local forest. Wood is one of the most sustainable materials and has no CO2 emissions; it also gives a warmth and friendliness to the structure.

Finally, we designed up-to-date sustainable heating and cooling systems with HVAC heat pump and solar panels to produce the energy and fulfill energy consumption of the house.


Base: concrete strip foundation with reinforced concrete floor slab

Wall: reinforced concrete wall
First Floor: reinforced concrete structure, with wood walls
Roof: wood construction with thermal insulation in mineral-wool
Exterior: cladding in plywood on lath frame
Also internal walls in wood or drywall construction finished in larch plywood
Steelwork: stainless or galvanized steel

Connie’s comments: I found some vacant lots in the bay area, email me if you want to do this project in Northern California.

Protect our global environment

In the Philippines, one small island almost disappeared from the pollutants coming from nearby mining company. An island suffered the same as flooding cannot be contained as a result of illegal logging, cutting of trees and no sustainable solutions in place.

Here in the USA, you can see the beauty of nature as each person try to help preserve the environment.

NPCA views the bridging of Tamiami Trail as the highest priority to restoring critical habitat and an entire ecosystem in a national park. Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41/State Road 90) connects Tampa to Miami and forms a portion of the northern boundary of Everglades National Park. It provides access to one of the most popular areas of the park – Shark Valley Slough and observation tower – and is the only way to access the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center and Headquarters.

Since the 1920s, an 11-mile stretch of Tamiami Trail has acted as a dam, impeding the natural north-south flow of water through the greater Everglades ecosystem. As a result, Everglades National Park is starved of vital water, causing deterioration of the park’s wading bird and wildlife habitat and its unique ridge and slough landscape.

In 1989, Congress authorized the Modified Water Deliveries project, which included bridging one mile of Tamiami Trail. Twenty years later, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground on the one-mile bridge in 2009.

In March 2013, NPCA celebrated the ribbon cutting of the one-mile bridge. This project is critical to restoring water flows and distribution that marine wildlife, fisheries, and nesting colonies of birds rely on, including the endangered Everglade Snail Kite and the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. The bridge construction already has brought much needed jobs to South Florida. From 2010 to 2012, 1,212 jobs were created.

This one-mile bridge span is a critical first step to restoring water flows to Everglades National Park; however, it alone will not achieve the water flows necessary to restore the Everglades.

In 2010, the National Park Service (NPS) released its final environmental impact statement for the “Everglades National Park Tamiami Trail Modifications:  Next Steps Project,” which identified the preferred alternative to be four additional spans of bridging, resulting in 5.5 miles in addition to the one-mile bridge. This would reestablish seasonal water depths and flooding durations critical to the survival of numerous species and bring the total elevated portions of Tamiami Trail to 6.5 miles.

NPCA strongly supports NPS’ preferred alternative for bridging an additional 5.5 miles on Tamiami Trail. The Everglades ecosystem has been severely damaged by the drastic low water levels, with Everglades National Park only receiving 30 percent of the water it needs to function properly.

In fall 2012, NPS started the planning and design phase for the next segment of bridging on Tamiami Trail, which will be a 2.6-mile span. A design build is expected to be ready mid-2014.

NPCA is exploring options to fund the construction for the next span of bridging.  Among possible options are settlement penalties from the BP-Gulf oil spill because moving water south will improve the health of Southern Gulf estuaries, specifically Florida Bay and the Caloosahatchee. These estuaries are being damaged from the erratic and often devastating flows of water because water is unable to flow south through its historic course.