Sustainable Community: New Orleans. Yan Gao, Olivia Hoylman, Emily Fliegel, and Harsh Sultania. Group Assignments. Design Objectives.
Sustainable Community: New Orleans
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Yan Gao, Olivia Hoylman, Emily Fliegel, and Harsh Sultania
Our objective is to create a sustainable community that is interdependent for resources and is budgeted in terms of systems based off of the local GDP. We achieved this by following the design process until the ideal model resulted.
Location: New Orleans
The historic port city of New Orleans, Louisiana is known for its roots in jazz. This major city is located across the Mississippi River and along the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, in 2005 this city was the site of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive hurricanes in history.
This location is ideal for creating a sustainable community because of the natural resources of the location and the resources available to a large city. In addition, it is quit literally a clean slate for rebuilding because most of the homes there were wiped off of their foundations from the hurricane.
The Real GDP of Louisiana, per capita, is $32,842.
Floor Plans: Plan 1
Floor Plans: Plan 2
Floor Plans: Plan 3
Selected Floor Plan
Plan 2 because it had the most space, was the most sustainable, and it required the least material.
Building Materials: Flooring
Cork- Prominent in the 1900s, cork is sustainable and competitively priced. Cork is made from the bark of oak trees; it can be harvested safely every nine years. In addition, cork is not made highly of chemicals. Also, cork can be made from recycled bottle stoppers. Some of the major benefits of cork are its comfort and insulation benefits. The unique composition of cork, which is 50 percent air, reduces stress on your feet. Also, cork has a naturally high indoor air quality and it has sound absorbent properties. While there is a range of prices for cork it is comparable to wood flooring. The recent demand for this type of flooring has expanded the patterns and varieties available.
Bamboo- Bamboo flooring is made from compressing dried bamboo fibers under heat into pieces of floorboard, which makes it durable. Most bamboo grasses reach maturity in 6 years compared to the 60 years it takes wood to mature. Bamboo is visually appealing and is hypoallergenic. In addition, it is very comparable to hardwood in terms of price and look. A major drawback to bamboo is that it is mainly imported from China, which add costs.
Carpet- Carpet manufacturing has become more sustainable from the numerous ways it can be recycled after use. The types of carpet sold today have a wide range of recycled content. Also, manufacturers have reduced energy and water use in production. An improvement for carpet is carpet tiles, which are more adaptable to different types of spaces and can be easily replaced.
Building Materials: Insulation
Insulation is measured by R-values, which measure the resistance of the material to heat flow; it ranges from R-1 to R-60. The higher the R-value that greater and more restrictive it is to heat, usually this also means increased price. Homes should be insulated with a material that has an R-value of at least 30.
Wool- Sheep wool is ideal in that it mimics nature because sheep live in extremely cold environments. The fibers are compressed to form air pockets, which maintains the temperature in homes. In addition, wool’s outer layer is hydrophobic while the inner layer is very absorbent. Wool has an R-value of 3 to 4 per inch of thickness.
Aerogel- Aerogel removes the liquid from silica to make it light and have a composition of 90 percent air. This insulation has an R-value of 10.3 per inch thickness but is quit expensive.
Polystyrene- Consists of a form of plastic that adds structure to the walls it is insulating while resisting heat flow. It has an R-value of 3.8 to 4.4 per inch thickness. In addition, it is recyclable.
Icynene- Completely seals the walls from a spray of castor oil, which maintains the air pockets as it solidifies. It has an R-value of 3.6 per inch of thickness. However, it is extremely expensive and requires a ventilation system.
Building Material: Roofing
Green Roofs- Made up of shrubs, trees, and native ground cover. Provide support, drainage, improve air quality, and reduce energy costs.
Metal- Most are comprised of recycled material and can be recycled themselves after their lifespan. Also, they are durable and excellent for collecting rainwater for watering.
Slate- Natural stone require a lot of energy to extract but has longevity.
Cooling Roof- Reflects the heat instead of absorbing it, vinyl roofs reflect 80 percent compared to a standard asphalt roof that reflects between 6 to 26 percent.
Building Materials: Support
Restored Pine- Based off of my piecewise comparison of specifications for building materials, a reused material is five times more important than a recycled one in terms of sustainability. Therefore, the use of 600 year old restored pine that has be coated to maintain the integrity of the wood is the ideal solution for the main support material of home in the community. In addition, since there are countless abandon homes in New Orleans that have this antique pine, the prices are relatively cheap for its quality.
Building Materials: Windows
Metal- Extremely durable with a lightweight frame. However, it easily conducts heat, which in turn makes it a poor insulator.
Fiberglass-Have become more popular in recent years because of it thermal performance and alternative to vinyl.
Vinyl-Typically made of PVCs (polyvinyl chloride); this type of material is water resistant and cheap but not durable in the long run.
Wood- Is a very adaptive material depending on whether types but requires a lot of upkeep.
In addition, the windows will be filled with inert gases that have a higher thermal performance such as Krypton or Argon. Also reflective coating which aim to prevent light from hitting the surface of the window rather than preventing the absorbance of heat will be added to the surface of the window to increase energy savings. Lastly, the windows will consist of double paned glass to prevent heat loss.
Building Materials: Doors
Fiberglass- Extremely light weight material that still is thermally efficient. It can also be recycled after its lifetime.
Wood- Eco-friendly depending on whether the wood is local and/or has a high recycled content and whether or not the wood was treated with additional chemicals such as formaldehyde.
Steel- Has a high recycled content in it, is durable, and it is sturdy.
Also, the homes with be equipped with doors that are weatherstripped to further prevent heat loss from the home. It does this by creating a seal between the bottom of the door and the floor.
Heat loss is calculated by taking into account the u-values of a specific building material, the surface area of the material, and the temperature change.
The selected floor plan has walls with a square footage of 2,068, doors with a square footage of 32, floors with a square footage of 1,600, windows a square footage of 367, and a roof with a square footage of 800.
The overall heat loss of the home is 4,793 BTU per hour.
Louisiana has a rainfall of 60-65 inches annually, an average high temperature of 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit , and a average low temperature of 58.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wind Energy uses wind turbines to make electricity and windmills for the mechanical power. Also, wind pumps for water pumping or drainage,. At most only 59% of the wind is converted to energy; depending on size of turbine. In addition, a wind source a 1MW turbine operating at a 45% production rate will generate about 3.9 million kW of electricity in a year. Which is enough to meet the needs of about 500 households per year, can cost $2000-$2800 per kW range, on the other hand a 1MW turbine can cost $2 million. The average wind speed for New Orleans is 8.2 miles per hour.
Hydropower Energy comes from the energy of falling water (the kinetic energy of flowing water). The “micro hydro” type of hydropower can produce up to 100 kW of electricity just using the natural flow of water, which can be transported over long distances. Power = (Height of Dam) x (River Flow) x (Efficiency)/11.8 (Dam Required), which is $8000-$13000 per kW of capacity installed.
Solar Energy is only 11-15% efficient per 10watts per square footage, which costs around $6-$7 per watt. A 5 kW system would cost around $25,000-$35,000 to install but would require little maintenance after installation. However, electricity is only available when sun is shining.
Geothermal Energy uses steam produced from reservoirs of hot water found a couple of miles or more below the Earth's surface. This option is sustainable because the heat extraction is small compared with the Earth's heat content. On the other hand though it is very expensive to drill.
The electricity price, per kWh is 7.16 cents for Louisiana.
The electricity costs per month are: lighting- $1.00, kitchen appliances- $20.88, laundry- $6.49, personal care- $40.35, and miscellaneous- $14.52. This brings the total cost to $83.27 per month.
Specifications: Approximately 350 gallons per day, low cost, requires little energy and maintenance, and can remove cryptosporidia and giaridia.
The best solution was the gravity filter because it effectively removes all pollutants: including cysts, requires no energy needed, and is high maintenance.
Heating/Cooling: Forced Air
Forced Air is when air is heated in a furnace and then distributed through ductwork into the rooms of the home.
The advantages are it is the only distribution method that can be used for cooling, the air may be filtered, humidified, and dehumidified, it is inexpensive, and it is fuel efficient.
The disadvantages are that it requires ductwork and takes space in walls, the furnace fan can be noisy, it may distribute allergens with moving air, and it requires filtration and maintenance.
Heating/Cooling: Radiant Heat and Hydronic
Radiant Heat works through radiation or a direct transfer of heat from hot to cold surfaces, which is most commonly provided through hot water tubing directly below the floor surface
The advantages are that provides comfortable evenly distributed heat, it is energy efficient, and it doesn’t distribute allergens. The disadvantages are that it slowly heats up cycle, it is expensive to insulate, it is difficult to repair, and it requires a separate ductwork for cooling.
Hydronic or hot water baseboard uses hot water heated by a boiler that is then piped into fin-tubes along walls to heat space by radiation and convection. It can use standard gas, oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, or solar water heaters as energy sources to heat the liquid.
The advantages are that it is energy efficient, quiet, doesn’t distribute allergens, and uses little electricity. The disadvantages are there is a slow temperature increase and it requires separate ductwork for cooling.
Heating/Cooling: Steam Radiant and Geothermal
Steam radiant is when cast iron upright radiators radiate heat with steam, which is then distributed with steam piping and radiator units throughout the home.
The advantages are it is efficient, comfortable, and it warms spaces up quickly. The disadvantages are that it takes up space, it is not visually appealing, and it requires separate ductwork for cooling.
Geothermal heat pumps use ground loop geothermal systems, where the heat is taken from or deposited to the earth by use of a ground loop pipe.
The advantages are it can save 30-70% on home heating and 20-50% on home cooling, it provides both heating and cooling, it can also heat water, it is renewable, it is an emission free energy source, and it requires no maintenance cost. The disadvantages are the systems are not cheap to install and it may cost $12,000- $16,000. However, it can save up to $1,500 annually.
Obviously, traditional landfill waste is still necessary for certain products like for instance hazardous waste. On the other hand, the green ways in which waste can be handled are: recycling, composting (organic waste energy), and landfill-to-gas energy.
Everyday, the average American disposes of 4.5 pounds worth of trash, which adds up to 1 ton of garbage per person per year.
Recycling is encouraged in the community through weekly recycling pickup on the same day as trash is picked up, recycling stations that are located in public area to discourage impulse waste, and by creating an incentive program that rewards those who recycle with coupons for local businesses.
“Our 110 landfill-gas-to-energy projects currently generate enough energy to power 400,000 homes every day offsetting almost two million tons of coal per year.” A similar model based off of Waste Managements would add to the sustainability of the community. Energy is created from waste in two ways: combustion and by collecting landfill gas. Landfill is gas is a mostly composed of methane and some of it is naturally produced from biodegrading waste.
Specifications were: must remove bacteria and nutrients, must be able to fit 350 gallons at a given time, require little or no electricity and maintenance, and be eco-friendly.
The best solution was to construct wetlands because it requires no electricity, it is eco-friendly, it fit the geography perfectly, it cleans bacteria along with other pollutants, and is high maintenance.
Other solutions include composting toilets which reduce the needed water amount, a hydrophobic coating on house that reduces the amount of water absorbed into house, and the use of gravity to distribute water.
Average Salary: $49,000
The benefits of having the main career opportunities for community member in a not-for-profit organization are that: the business has access to grants, it qualifies for a tax-exempt status, it creates positive community involvement, and it comes with limited liability.
Based off of the real GDP and the average salary for a not-for-profit entry level career, we designed all the systems of the home around a budget of $250,000, which would be practically for the community members to pay off with a ten year mortgage.
Overall Systems Diagram
CalRecycle. California Government, 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2012.
Kim, Jong-Jin, and Brenda Rigdon. Sustainable Architecture Module. Ann Arbor: National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education, 1998. Print.