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Ripple Effect_A Net-Zero Energy Housing Community The Ripple Effect zero net energy housing community provides a progressive example of using renewables to inhabit the earth in a sustainable manner. The parallel layout of the two housing structures begins at the north end with a narrow opening to the already established Emeryville Greenway. This very important connection to the established park and pedestrian friendly causeway widens as one moves south along the site, eventually terminating at Park Avenue. The staggering units provide not only enticing visual character and movement along the site, but also opportunities for day lighting, airflow, green roofs, and balconies. The 50-foot width of the parallel bars allows for quality daylight and ease of cross-ventilation within the spaces.

laundry washing. The 23.62 inches of rainfall per year and 0.1 in of snowfall per year translate into 2,189,366.97 gallons per year collected from the impermeable surfaces on site. This is enough to meet about 36% of water demand on site. This, along with water saving fixtures will help to ease potential water shortages inevitable to the area.

As a site net zero building, the energy produced by the rooftop photovoltaic system is more than enough to provide for the energy used by the building and its occupants. Attached to the roof of the fourth floor are standard 0.215kW photovoltaic panels. These account for 54,419 square feet or 48% of the total photovoltaic system and generate 1,061,163 kWh/yr. The rest of the system is comprised of 0.172kW laminated photovoltaic panels extending at the same level as the standard panels and acting as a pergola over the third floor open rooftop spaces. These panels comprise 73,692 square feet or 52% of the photovoltaic system and generate 1,068,532 kWh/ yr. The total resultant energy produced is 2,129,695 kWh/yr. This is more than enough to provide for the 1,969,175 kWh/yr required at the site.

In working to determine the best way to achieve on-site zero net energy we learned a few lessons. The original approach began with creating a building that was beautiful, site responsive, and which satisfied programmatic requirements. In doing so we kept in mind opportunities for passive design strategies to reduce building loads from the outset.

The energy demand was calculated as an ideal goal for reduced energy demand based on data collected from the Department of Energy. The retail and library spaces have been reduced by 75% from DOE data and the residential space has been reduced by 66%. These ideal goals can be met with energy saving approaches such as installing high-efficiency electronics and appliances, and designing for passive heating and cooling. Most buildings today designed for LEED certification with such strategies easily can be reduced by as much, if not more than, this amount.

It is the expectation that this project will become an example for future developments looking to achieve zero net energy on site, achieving a ripple effect of net zero design throughout the Emeryville area.

Having determined ideal building loads we set to produce enough energy to meet these loads using a photovoltaic system. The most evident strategy was to utilize the available roof surface that has the most sun exposure on site. Through calculations we were able to determine that our loads could be met entirely using just photovoltaic panels on the roof surface and as a pergola over third floor roof spaces. In our consideration of renewables to be used on site we also calculated the viability of wind generation. The free-standing turbines we researched were capable of producing 4000 kWh/year with the average 8 mph wind speed in the area. We determined that as we did not need the wind generated power to meet the energy demand of the building that it would not be useful for this design to include the turbines. While they may be a viable solution for another project, in our case they would have blocked sunlight necessary for the photovoltaic system.

Rainfall collected on site will be directed to cisterns for re-use in toilet flushing and

Birdeye View of the Development from the Southeast

Breezeway for Drying Laundry, Saving Energy

Section through the Outdoor Plaza and Public Gardens

Rooftop Terrace with Laminated Photovoltaic Canopy Laminated Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics 01_Creation of main thoroughfare

02_Sliding of levels for access

03_Shifting for more, dynamic outdoor space

04_Plaza bulges, dividing and distorting buildings

05_Building form creates forced perspective

WIND CREATES PRESSURE DIFFERENCE WHICH AIDS VENTILATION

EXHAUST

GRAY WATER

PRIVACY

GARDEN + PLAZA COLLECTION

OVERFLOW TO DISTRICT

IRRIGATION

GRAY WATER

ROOF + TERRACE

ROOF + TERRACE

COOL AIR ENTERS

N (CAPACITY 400,000 GAL)

WATER RETENTION CISTER WEST PUMP

50’

200’

DIMINISHING AIR MOVEMENT AT LOWER LEVELS

EAST PUMP

FILTRATION + U.V.

FILTRATION + U.V.

Diagram of Water Catchment, Retention, and Reuse On-Site

100’

Diagram of Natural Ventilation Strategies in Housing Units

Diagram of Photovoltaic Assemblies

Development Site Plan

Ripple Effect_A Zero Net Energy Housing Community  

Done in the Fall of 2011, This project was submitted to Architecture at Zero competition which was sponsored by the AIA San Fran. This proj...