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Felicia Nitu

Felicia Nitu


Empowerhouse project designed for Solar Decathlon USA

Despite the general concern that Green houses are more expensive then the regular homes, US students from Parsons The New School, NY and Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ designed an affordable house for low-income people.

de Felicia Nitu la categoria Energie Verde

Publicat la 24.09.2011 | 5936 vizualizări | 4 comentarii



2 voturi

EmpowerHouse project unites students from Milano, Parsons and Stevens Institute to design and build an affordable energy efficient house model for Habitat for Humanity. Our submission was selected to be presented in Washington, D.C. as part of the Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. I was involved in every stage of development, from the conceptual phase to drafting the construction documents. 

From the very beginning we worked in a multi-disciplinary team with Passive House (PH) specialists. In parallel, I took a few classes  to learn about PH principles (air-tight super-insulated envelope – no thermal bridging, passive solar heat gain and efficient mechanical system – heat or energy recovery system) and how to use energy modeling tools to get instant feedback to our conceptual designs. The tools I used are Rhino-Grashopper-PHPP (PH planning package), Therm and Ecotect. We also worked with CASE to integrate PHPP into our Revit model but we only partially succeeded (we used the area take-offs from Revit for the PHPP calculations).

After multiple iterations of design schemes, the most energy efficient approach was to have two semi-detached single family homes that share one of their facades. That design minimizes the number of exterior walls and the risk of thermal bridging. The South facing windows are large, for solar heat gain in the winter, and with a shading system that covers 80% of the glazing in the summer time. Originally, we had smaller windows for the Eastern and Western façades and almost non-existent North facing windows. 

During the design development phase, I focused on specifying, detailing, and building's shading system, the openings (windows and doors) in correlation with the energy performance of the houses. The challenge was to balance the energy performance of the house with the living experience we want people to have. The 12” deep TJI paneled walls allowed me to design splays for the windows and to use them as a shading strategy for the East and West façade (no additional shading strategy necessary) and as a non-glare strategy for the South and North façade.

For the final design, I was able to enlarge the windows on the East, West and North façades for a better interior experience. I succedded this by specifying different SHGC, R and U-values for the double pane argon in-fill glass and for the frame along with a non-thermal bridging window detail. In positioning each window I took into consideration not just the interior program requirements and overall experience, but also the solar exposure and surrounding obstructions (residues trees).


In partnership with DHCD (Department of Housing & Community Development in D.C.) we introduced EmpowerHouse to the Deawood community and initiated an open educational dialog about what it means to be Green. As one of the group leaders, I was the liaison to DHCD and DCRA (Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs). In this role I held several presentations to share with DHCD and DCRA our vision behind EmpowerHouse which also included community outreach. DHCD agreed to donate a lot in Deanwood for our project and I kept in touch with DCRA for their support and guidance about building permits.



Marcel Lucian Popa

Marcel Lucian Popa expert evaluator | 1 octombrie 2011 16:05

Am regasit aici informatii interesante asupra aspectelor specifice in proiectarea si constructia caselor pasive, fiind un articol de normalitate spre deosebire de anuntul unui rasunator succes romanesc realizat cu consultanta germana asupra unei tehnologii canadiene. Sunt interesat asupra influentelor climatice si zonelor geografice asupra proiectarii PH.

Felicia Nitu

Felicia Nitu Architect | 12 octombrie 2011 22:25

D-le Popa, imi cer scuze pentru intazierea raspunsului meu. Zona geografica pentru care a fost proiectata casa a fost esentiala. DC are temperaturi foarte extreme, similare cu Romania insa pe timpul verii se adauga o valuare mare a umezelii in air. Umezeala face foarte greu controlul aerului din interior mai ales daca nu vrei sa consumi multa energie. Desi ERV-ul utilizat are un dehumidifier in constructia lui, nu a fost suficient. Cea mai buna solutie este instalarea unui dehumidifier eficient.

In ceea ce priveste peretii exteriori, am construit un sistem modular de I-Joists, celuloza si Zipp OSB. Cu aceasta solutie am ajuns sa avem un R-40 la pereti si R-60 la acoperis.

Ma bucura sa ma intrebati si alte detalii despre acest proiect. De altfel poate reusim sa ajutam echipa Romaniei care a fost selectionata pentru Solar Decathlon Europa 2012, Madrid. Credeti ca puteti lua legatura cu ei?

Eugen Goldhammer

Eugen Goldhammer Auditor energetic si Termograf infrarosu cladiri si instalatii | 13 octombrie 2011 09:58

Ce stiti de echipa Romaniei care a fost selectata pentru Solar Decathlon Europa 2012?

Marcel Lucian Popa

Marcel Lucian Popa expert evaluator | 13 octombrie 2011 10:20

Team Bucharest 2012: “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Politehnica University of Bucharest, and Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest (Romania).

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