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Large Eco-House - feedback?

by Ed Gray last modified May 17, 2011 02:44 AM
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Large Eco-House - feedback?

Posted by Ed Gray at June 27. 2008

We've just completed the designs for and are soon to be constructing our first eco-house.; We believe the design to be the first of it's kind in southern Spain and we would love some feedback on the design and even perhaps suggestions on improving it's green credentials.

We have previously designed an eco-tower and use passive cooling techniques in all of our large-scale projects but this is our first residential eco project. Given the size of the villa (it's 650m2!) we understand the enormous carbon footprint just building what is essentially a single-family home creates, and so have tried to incorporate as many green features as possible.

Eco House

Eco House

The house is on three levels. A ‘floating’ glass walkway leads to the entrance which opens into the upper level of a double height glass atrium drawing the eye through 180° of stunning views. This level includes a kitchen, dining room and main living room. A swimming pool and two terrace areas are also located at this level with a separate guest house situated at the far end of the plot. Stairs lead down to a lower level which houses three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a master suite, TV room and family room. In addition a study with en-suite facilities offers versatility. A plant room is on the basement level which also includes the water holding tanks.

The kitchen opening out onto an East facing terrace is positioned to take advantage of the morning sun, partial shading towards the house is provided by a pergola. The main living area is connected to the kitchen and dining room by a bridge which passes over water.


Externally the most apparent feature is the roof line which sits wing-like above the building line. The roof form and distance from the building is key, it holds the solar panels at the correct angle to maximize effectiveness whilst also hiding them from view. Less direct heat is transmitted into the house and the space between the two rooflines allows air to pass over the building adding to the cooling effect. Perimeter adjustable louvered vents are also located just below the building roof line allowing cooler air to pass through rooms whilst removing the accumulated hot air. 

Extensive glass is used in the design however the ‘double skin’ effect again incorporating adjustable louvered panels, prevent excessive heat conduction through the glass.

The main living area hovers above a ‘mirage’ of water which appears to merge with the swimming pool but is in fact part of the cooling system. It is fed by a canal which runs the length of the pool to one side. The 30cm deep ‘mirage pool’ cools the air passing over it thus contributing to the cooling process.


A rainwater reclamation system will be installed and Grey water will be recycled from holding tanks situated in the basement. The pool will be saline negating the use of standard pool chemicals.


A photovoltaic system will supply the electricity to run a radiant heating system within the floor. The adjustable louver wall system will optimize heat capture during the day and retain the warmth by night.

Geo-thermal energy will provide a back-up cooling and heating system.

In keeping with the design ethos only wood from verified managed sources will be used as will low VOC paints and LED lighting. Environmentally sensitive smart glass technology reacting to sunlight will reduce the cooling load through self adjusting opacity levels. The kitchen layout will optimize storage design to decrease waste. All appliances will be the latest low energy and water-efficient models.


We would love to have any feedback about our design!

Ed Gray

International Architects
Diseño Earle

Re: Large Eco-House - feedback?

Posted by Steven Powers at May 17. 2011

just had a quick read this look really cool. I really like your water management system think thats pretty cool and unique. I just have one question

How much does this green eco house actually cost you in terms of a regular house? Are you saving money with this, with your various recycling methods, or becaue of the complexity of your eco hosue does it incure you more costs than a regular house?

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