North House: Prototyping Climate Responsive Envelope and Control Systems

From Research Journal Vol. 05.01 (Special Issue: National Science Foundation Workshop on Architecture and Engineering of Sustainable Buildings)

This article presents North House, an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional design research project to develop a full-scale prototype of a net-positive energy solar powered residence optimized for cold climate applications and describes the project’s performance objectives that privileged environmentally responsive envelope design, the use of hybrid passive and active energy systems and inhabitant participation in managing the home’s energy profile. These design principles and their respective performance measures were developed and evaluated by way of a tripartite suite of interdependent systems and technologies, each of which were used in building and operating the North House prototype: (i) DReSS: Distributed Responsive System of Skins, (ii) CHAS: Central Home Automation Server, and (iii) ALIS: Adaptive Living Interface System. The work presented here formed part of a broader presentation outlining ongoing research by the authors in the area of responsive envelopes as presented at an NSF sponsored workshop in July 2012 at the offices of Perkins+Will in Chicago.

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