Education & Institutions
Built in 1924, this residential building is situated on Harvard University’s campus. It has been renovated to inspire others by how older, existing structures can be altered to become ultra-efficient facilities with ambitious performance targets. The building, which is anticipated to be completed towards the end of 2018, will house research dealing with global climate change and sustainable building design strategies.
HouseZero will consist of the original structure and an extension of the existing building in the basement called "The Vault". The current conventional heating and cooling systems in the house include a gas-powered boiler, hot water heater, steam-driven radiators, forced-air ventilation, and window-mounted air conditioning units. These will be fully replaced with a new paradigm which relies on the addition of thermal mass and radiant surfaces. Natural ventilation inside both the existing house and The Vault will adress the heating and cooling needs of the structure. Rather than approaching the project as a hermetically-controlled box, the envelope and materials of HouseZero are designed to interact with the seasons and the exterior environment in a more natural way. Much like a layered approach to clothing, the house is meant to adjust seasonally.
All glazing systems in the house will be replaced with triple-glazed, low-E windows and skylights, which will be fully operable through WindowMaster’s automated system, NV Advance®. WindowMaster’s control system will allow the building to fully monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality through internal and external sensors. Manual overrides of the automated system are also incorporated.
The almost zero-energy natural ventilation strategy is attuned to seasonal and climatic variables through adaptive installations; some passive and some with algorithm-based control technologies. Ventilation is controlled via WindowMaster’s actuated windows on all floors, while a passive solar chimney contributes to critical ventilation of The Vault and the event space in the basement. Operable skylights are added to the roof plane to allow for a robust ventilation of level 2 and 3 as well as the stairwell. Furthermore, windows will let air in at select times to manage the indoor air quality during the winter. In the summer, the higher level windows will be utilized to keep the temperature in the building at the required level throughout the day.
All openings are programmed for daily night purging to help stabilize indoor air quality throughout the seasons.
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