eco

Ecology – The Blue Concept

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It was a beautiful day and we were sitting in a café discussing the energy use in different parts of the world and the challenges posed by mobile building structures. This led us to consider the LoftCube and make some fundamental decisions.

Basic principles

 

…catches the eye           > impressive
…is part of the nature           > open
…can change its location           > mobile
…can be used for diverse purposes & easily transformed           > individual
…is an international product           > flexible
…can be produced locally           > modular
…is quickly available, easy to transport           > practical
…can be installed on rooftops & at the seaside           > robust
…can be used for a long period of time           > durable

 

The first question

Which forms of energy should we use. Should we rely on just one and what happens if someone moves with their LoftCube and is faced with completely different conditions? In some locations there is a great deal of wind while in others the sun shines almost 360 days a year. In other places the conditions are so variable that only using one form of energy supply can lead to a dead–end.

Furthermore, we discussed how we can ensure that we can implement all the worthwhile, innovative solutions that already exist or might be developed in the future.

The quintessence of our dicussions and considerations was that we require an open system that allows us in each case to implement the most suitable systems required in each respective location and, if desired, replace or update these later.

As a result, we decided not to implement predefined systems with connection points, but to create specific areas in the LoftCube in which different technologies can be installed.

Natural light

An important source for humans. The Loftcube has been designed as a home flooded with light 360°. It has large, floor–to–ceiling glass panels, allowing for optimum use of the sunlight and sun energy.

Natural air circulation

We feel comfortable when we can breathe in fresh air. We install lamella windows with a size of 1200mm*2400mm in the LoftCube. These allow for a fast and natural exchange of air within just a few minutes.

Eco-Balance

In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics and the University of Stuttgart, the Chair of Building Physics and Life Cycle Engneering Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl. Phys. Klaus Sedlbauer, the energy balance of a mobile building was examined for the first time according to the DGNB model, on the basis of the EnEV 2009 standards.

The special thing about the DGNB model is the application of a holistic approach for evaluation, which for example also takes into account the social and aesthetic values as well as the comparison with a reference model.

Because there is no DGNB reference model for mobile homes, a six-family stone house was used as the smallest unit. The results were very positive, especially as in the case of small buildings the ratio between the outside space and the building volume is considerably higher than in the case of larger buildings such as six-family buildings.

With the implementation of the recommendations made by the Fraunhofer Institute, for example the standard implementation of triple glazing and the optimisation of the insulation in the floor and ceiling, the LoftCube has been awarded silver and gold in various evaluations and silver in the overall evaluation.

Using the LoftCube as an example, the logic applied to the evaluation of mobile buildings was discussed and specific proposals were made, as there are some special considerations that should be taken into account due to the contrast between this kind of building and a stationary building. The LoftCube can be used as a reference model for other mobile homes.

The most important influence for the eco-balance is the transformation of energy during the life cycle of a building structure. This means that the important aspect is the energy mix used.

In the DGNB model, the average energy mix of a country is used as a basis and not the actual energy mix used for the building structure and in our opinion this is a weak point in the DGNB logic as the same building in Sweden would receive a better value than in Germany and it is therefore not standardized. In Europe, Sweden currently has the best energy mix as the majority of the energy is water-powered.

Use of materials

The wood used is FSC certified.

Although the building material aluminium is very beautiful with its characteristics, shapes and colours, it unfortunately can also have a critical impact on the environment. In building construction aluminium it the material with the highest environmental impact. As a result, it should only be implemented where it is absolutely necessary.

For this reason, we only use aluminium in the facade and the interior for the certified mounting of windows and in this way we stay below the 2% ratio of the overall material use.

Recycling of material used

More than 90& of the material used in the LoftCube can be directly recycled.

Low energy transformation

The LoftCube has been conceived as a low-energy house. We install triple glazing with a k–value of 0,6 in order to use as much sunlight and sun energy as possible and on the other hand to ensure that the LoftCube uses as little energy as possible. The closed facade panels and the floor and ceiling insulation have a K–value of 0,03. The LoftCube values are between 40–100 kWh/m²a, depending on the facade configuration.

Energy use in the LoftCube

Due to the mobile nature of the LoftCube, we have decided to install an electric–based solution as the standard. As the external basic conditions may change, electric energy is the only energy that can be converted from all energy sources such as sun, wind, water, geothermal energy or a generator, without having to adapt the internal system.

Using our open system, static LoftCubes can of course also be connected to a water–based system, a central supply system or a gas system.

New design for LoftCube

Due to our modular concept, if desired the LoftCube can be redesigned and all the dividing walls and installations can be re–used.

Repairs to the LoftCube

If due to external influences it is necessary to replace damaged components, we are able to replace these individually and hence contribute to an efficient use of materials.

Sound insulation

If at any time it is noisy outside the Cube, the 41dB noise–reducing glass keeps the Cube pleasantly quiet. On the other hand, if one wishes to be part of the countryside, one only needs to open the lamella window to immediately be in the middle of the action.

Soil consolidation

When earth anchors are used, there is no soil consolidation.

When concrete foundations are used, there is only minimum soil consolidation of 8% of the ground area due to the small surface area of the supports.