A house designed by Italian architects is turning heads in China. The Energy Efficient Bamboo House is designed to have a tiny environmental footprint and may lead the way for more environmentally conscious building projects in China. The house was conceived by Milan designers at Studio Cardenas, and is constructed primarily from bamboo. The house is located in the Longquan International Bamboo Commune in Zhejiang. This area is home to vast stores of bamboo which grows fast and can be sustainably harvested.
House designed to minimize environmental footprint
The use of local material is just the beginning for the bamboo’s long list of impressive energy saving features. The architects of the projects explain, “For the structure of the Energy Efficient Bamboo House we explored new ways of building using bamboo as a construction material. Sustainability for us is not only the use of natural materials such as bamboo but to design appropriate construction solutions.”
To show that bamboo houses don’t need to be reserved for one off architectural concepts, the team at Studio Cardenas developed a modular, “industrialized bamboo construction system” that will allow fast creation of multiple houses. The system also lets the house be easily expanded and transported. The design uses dry-mounted connections that don’t weaken the bamboo through perforation. This design also means the bamboo poles can be replaced if and when needed.
House incorporates ancient Feng Shui principles
The house isn’t just practical though, in keeping in line with its Chinese context, the architects worked hard to design a home based on Feng Shui principles. The layer of the house is divided into nine squares in keeping with the ancient design guidelines. Positive energy, known as Qi is encouraged to flow around the house with the minimal use of dividing walls. This open plan also helps facilitate maximum natural ventilation. The house sits on a rammed earth base. On the lower floor sits the technical room of the house.
Feng shui or fengshui is an ancient Chinese philosophical system that believes in the ability to harmonize people and objects with the surrounding environment. It is often related to architecture and particularly to room arrangement and placement of objects inside space. Feng Shui talks about architecture's ability to bind the universe, earth, and humanity together via positive energy. While there is no replicable scientific evidence to Feng Shui's claims, architects working in China have often made efforts to understand the basic principles.
Heating and cooling supplied by geothermal heat pump and groundwater
The house cleverly uses a combination of groundwater and a geothermal heat pump for indoor heating and cooling. This method of heating and cooling leverages off the earth's naturally stabilized temperatures which allows it to be at least 25 percent more energy efficient than conventional systems. The geothermal heat pump and groundwater system are also reported to use around 15 percent less energy than traditional chiller plants. The house was designed and constructed as part of the International Bamboo Biennale.