The following blog post is an extract that has been translated from a comprehensive architectural document developed by Active House architect and Icynene spray foam insulation enthusiast, Alexander Kucheravy. Alexander is a professionally licensed and renowned architect based in Kiev, Ukraine who spearheaded the OptimaHouse project.
OptimaHouse was the result of a team of vanguard organizations looking to create a modern energy-saving house based on European design/build concepts and adapted to the realities of the Ukrainian market.
The energy efficiency know-how and expertise of each participating organization was captured within the design and construction of OptimaHouse – the first mass-produced energy-saving house, where comfort together with energy efficiency were the top priorities.
The approach that OptimaHouse takes is intended for use by all Ukrainians where the issue of developing comfortable, energy-saving abodes has become topical in recent times. Hundreds of visitors seeking ideas on energy-saving construction have taken the opportunity to visit OptimaHouse during its first two years as a demonstration home. Visitors to the property have varied from media to government officers, building developers, environmental specialists and architects all seeking to learn more about the unique approach.
"I appreciate everyone who participated and contributed towards the process that resulted in creating OptimaHouse. I am sure that the project’s philosophy ‘The Building as a Product’ will be shared among many in Ukraine. It is this integrated approach to building design, construction and operation that aims to give unbiased information to consumers," said Aleksandr Kucheryavy, OptimaHouse Project Architect.
The OptimaHouse Design and Features
With a total area of 130 square meters (1400 sq. ft.), OptimaHouse is intended for a family of three to four persons, and has minimal resource consumption and reduced environmental impact. OptimaHouse takes both the ‘Active House’ and ‘Multi-Comfort House’ approaches with considerations to current Ukrainian realities and challenges.
The house comprises of two bedrooms, two lavatories, a dining room combined with a kitchen and a living room. On the exterior, the house features a large porch, which an integral part of the total living space, especially in summer.
The home’s design has been configured in such a way that it is possible to build an additional room, if required, without compromising the original architectural concept or performance.
- Natural Light – High levels of natural sunlight is achieved due inclusion of multiple dormer and façade windows. The average sunlight factor (DF) in OptimaHouse is 3 % to 5 %.
- Energy Consumption – Energy consumption in OptimaHouse is 65 % less than a similar type of a modern house built according to existing construction code. OptimaHouse consumes energy in amount of less than 60 kW•h/sq.m annually and simultaneously provides the required dwelling conditions: a warm environment in winter, comfortable temperatures in summer, hot water, ventilation with recovery, appliance operation of electric appliances and equipment as well as lighting. OptimaHouse requires only 8000 kW•h annually. Forty five percent of the energy required to keep OptimaHouse functioning is supplied from renewable energy sources such as solar.
- Environmental Impact – Forty percent of the world’s energy is consumed by houses which end up emitting CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. OptimaHouse impact on the environment is far less. CO2 emissions are less than 7 kg/sq.m annually or one ton per year. This is almost three times less than traditional modern houses.
- Water Consumption – Since water is a valuable resource today, OptimaHouse consumes 25 percent less water when compared traditional homes.
As noted earlier, the above is a translated extract from an original piece written in Ukrainian by Kiev-based architect Aleksandr Kucheryavy. This blog post is only intended to provide a general overview of the overall OptimaHouse project. Further details on the project and additional imagery of the house and its energy saving data can be found at http://kucheravy.archi/optimahouse2. Please note, the site is written in Ukrainian.