Green Design desertshadehouse3

Published on June 25th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

17

A Roof Designed for Our Hotter Future

Given the climate change coming to most regions of the US, this new roof idea is a great passive cooling solution worth looking at even if you don’t live in the desert regions… now.

Because, by century’s end; you might.

Summer temperatures in Florida could rise by 10.5F, with the heat effect multiplied by decreased rainfall under the higher emissions scenario. There would be increased hurricane intensity and rising sea levels leads to loss of wetlands and coastal areas.”

“When you’re out in the desert, shade is gold. It’s the most valuable asset you have, so to make more shade was [the] strategy,” says Lloyd Russell of this house he designed to withstand both the scorching heat and the cold of the desert for a client in Southern California.

Russell’s very low carbon way to cool a home is another example of how creatively some architects are thinking out of the box and in the process creating an entirely new design vernacular architecture for zero energy use in a carbon-constrained, hotter, wilder new world.

You might find this image vaguely familiar already. Open hay barns often have a giant metal roof like this providing shade. In this case this provides constant shade for the house and its patio areas, maintaining a relative cool micro-climate under the extra shade roof. The huge overarching steel roof  shades the completely separate building underneath.

Over the next few centuries, this passive cooling design might be mitigating the new hotter climate that much of the US will be feeling

Once Michigan feels like Georgia, wouldn’t a tempting solution be to just put another roof literally over the whole house? This might be among the the climate mitigation design solutions typical of the 2100′s.

This house is a basic rectangle under its hay barn sun shade. The naturally rusting walls and large sliding openings are indicative of both a rustic and modern acceptance of the harsh extremes of desert life.

Desert temperatures can range from 10 degrees to well into over 100 degrees, and winds can top 90 miles per hour. So this low-tech approach makes sense, making a very adjustable structure where many of the walls can be fully opened or securely closed for industrial scale heating or cooling.

The homeowner calls it “the ultimate desert structure,” both inside and out. The house also reflects the make-do culture and cowboy aesthetic this owner shares with his neighbors in Pioneer town – a very different aesthetic from that of nearby Palm Springs, with it’s A/C controlled homes still shutting out reality in gated communities.


Out here the residents embrace the desert as it is. As the homeowner puts it: “This place is bulletproof.”

In another sustainable touch; reused materials from an architectural salvage shop inside the rugged metal shell of the house reduce both costs and environmental impact. This typical example – an old elementary-school drinking fountain is used as a bathroom sink.

“It’s either recycled stuff, or stuff that’s going to last forever. And to me that’s as green as you can get,” is the homeowner’s assessment. “It’s going to be there, you never have to go back and retouch it or fix it.”

Images: David Harrison.
Architect Lloyd Russell




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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



17 Responses to A Roof Designed for Our Hotter Future

  1. russ says:

    It would seem they could manage the same effect without the whole package being quite so ugly.

    The attic in my new home stays cool during the summer temps here in Izmir, Turkey. Six inches of XPS foam, radiant barrier and LaFarge Braas cement roof tile do the job. Natural breezes help as well in our location.

  2. russ says:

    It would seem they could manage the same effect without the whole package being quite so ugly.

    The attic in my new home stays cool during the summer temps here in Izmir, Turkey. Six inches of XPS foam, radiant barrier and LaFarge Braas cement roof tile do the job. Natural breezes help as well in our location.

  3. That is something else isn’t, what a way to go, pretty amazing and I don’t think that its that ugly its unique, I could see myself with a home looking like that, and if its going to keep the heat out even better

  4. That is something else isn’t, what a way to go, pretty amazing and I don’t think that its that ugly its unique, I could see myself with a home looking like that, and if its going to keep the heat out even better

  5. Pingback: Micro Climate Roof - InspectionNews - Home Inspection

  6. russ says:

    Like the article says – it looks like a hay barn!

    You can accomplish the same object with style quite nicely.

  7. russ says:

    Like the article says – it looks like a hay barn!

    You can accomplish the same object with style quite nicely.

  8. Lucas Gray says:

    I love the flexibility designing in a dry climate affords. I love the operable walls and movable elements architecture in this climate can accommodate. It’s tough adapting these ideas to humid cold climates like the US/Canadian North East.

  9. Lucas Gray says:

    I love the flexibility designing in a dry climate affords. I love the operable walls and movable elements architecture in this climate can accommodate. It’s tough adapting these ideas to humid cold climates like the US/Canadian North East.

  10. Chris Stewart says:

    This does not look like particularly good green design to me. Separate structures are a waste of resources. Obviously it is at a higher elevation and probably has as much exposure to extreme cold as it does heat. With all the metal and thin walls it looks like it would be very cold on that snowy day.

    Massive walls of rammed earth or adobe would work well. With good control of solar gain the temperature swings between night and day could be evened out quite nicely.

  11. Chris Stewart says:

    This does not look like particularly good green design to me. Separate structures are a waste of resources. Obviously it is at a higher elevation and probably has as much exposure to extreme cold as it does heat. With all the metal and thin walls it looks like it would be very cold on that snowy day.

    Massive walls of rammed earth or adobe would work well. With good control of solar gain the temperature swings between night and day could be evened out quite nicely.

  12. Maui Design says:

    I just happened upon this site while researching Shipping Container Home Plans. I am a graphic and Interior Designer. I am also trying to build a green and mostly recycled home.I love the framework of this home. That’s just it…it’s framework. There are so many possibilities with this idea. Being from Maui I can truly bring the outside in. This is the epitome of KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Thanks for share.
    Aloha

  13. Maui Design says:

    I just happened upon this site while researching Shipping Container Home Plans. I am a graphic and Interior Designer. I am also trying to build a green and mostly recycled home.I love the framework of this home. That’s just it…it’s framework. There are so many possibilities with this idea. Being from Maui I can truly bring the outside in. This is the epitome of KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Thanks for share.
    Aloha

  14. We must use all methods and means to save our environment and stay green. These are great tips. At Professional Green Network(PGN) we help you learn, live, and be green in your homes and businesses. Our mission is to educate, inform, support, and train those who want to learn about green, become more eco-friendly, and be a part of green opportunities economically and with commitment that respect the environment. We will introduce you to turn-key green business opportunities, train you to “green” others, and create a sustainable business that profits.

  15. We must use all methods and means to save our environment and stay green. These are great tips. At Professional Green Network(PGN) we help you learn, live, and be green in your homes and businesses. Our mission is to educate, inform, support, and train those who want to learn about green, become more eco-friendly, and be a part of green opportunities economically and with commitment that respect the environment. We will introduce you to turn-key green business opportunities, train you to “green” others, and create a sustainable business that profits.

  16. buy vaniqa says:

    I really love to read articles that have good information and ideas to share to each reader. I hope to read more from you guys and continue that good work that is really inspiring to us.

  17. Cool! Very appropriate for the weather nowadays. Considering the dramatic climate change we’re experiencing now. Its really good to see people finding alternatives for the common issue we face today.

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