Calvin College Engineering Senior Design Team 22’s objective is to design a sustainable home that complies with the requirements of the Passive House Institute US’s sustainable home certification. The varied elements of this task, as outlined below, required a multidisciplinary approach.
Sustainability based architectural techniques, like roof overhangs and mudrooms that limit air exchange, were used to conserve thermal energy throughout the seasons. Engineering requirements for the heating, cooling, natural lighting, and structural loading were all factored into the architectural model throughout the design process.
Team 22 carefully prescribed the house’s orientation and landscaping to best capitalize on shading, daylighting design, and solar panel orientation.
The structural loads of the home were carefully calculated to overcome the architectural and thermal requirements of the PHIUS standard in order to successfully meet Michigan structural code.
Temperature and air quality were the most challenging obstacles for the mechanical design of the home. Ample insulation, an air-source heat pump, and a high-quality ventilation system allow the house to maintain a comfortable living environment without the large energy usage associated with a typical home.
The home’s annual energy usage was designed to be offset with a solar system and net-metering program. In addition, power-saving automation techniques, like a smart thermostat and intelligent lighting control, were implemented to decrease energy usage.