Green Building Design
The NexusHaus concept consists of two rectangular modules that interact with the environment to provide an energy-efficient, affordable home. The width of each module allows for ease of highway transportation and effective cross ventilation and daylighting throughout the interior. The orientation is designed to take advantage of the southern exposure during winter, and to reduce the over-bearing intensity of the sun in Texas’ afternoon hours during the hot summer months.
Layered onto and around the modules are a series of rain screens, canopies and arrays that either passively filter the sun’s rays before they strike the building’s skin or actively collect their energy to power the home’s systems, and harvest rainwater and support an edible landscape. Three large folding glass systems open to connect the modules to the deck and exterior layers, adding outdoor space to the modest 784 sf. conditioned house.
The modular structures consist of two 14 ft by 28 ft long structures that are connected by a covered shade canopy and outdoor deck. One module is designated as the day module and contains the living room, dining room and kitchen. The other module, designated as the night module, contains two bedrooms with a bathroom between.
A 12 ft square breezeway with a covered canopy and pull down privacy screens connects the modules for ease of movement between the day and night zones of the house. The modules are also connected to a covered deck on the southeast side of the house to enhance outdoor living and ventilation using a “dog-trot porch” configuration, a long established building type in Central Texas.
Another striking feature of the NexusHaus design is the extensive use of wood. The structure of the house is built using certified lumber originating from responsible, renewable logging practices as well as advanced framing techniques intended to limit waste. Wood is a natural material that brings warmth to the house and connects it to nature. It also requires less embodied energy to manufacture, has a smaller carbon footprint than other building methods, and absorbs CO2. The volume of wood contained in the house offers an additional benefit it’s carbon sequestration offsets the CO2 generated in the manufacturing of other building materials, making the house carbon neutral.
Overall our modest design utilizes three techniques: 1) The indoor spaces are bright and spacious with an open indoor/outdoor connection, 2) The “outdoor rooms” are designed as much as the indoor ones, made viable with shade in the moderate climate of the sunbelt region, and 3) Movement and view are extended along and across the modules through carefully positioned openings, connecting the interior with the exterior and providing generous amounts of daylight to enhance spaciousness while thickened exterior walls offer an additional buffer against solar gain on the east and west walls.
NexusHaus will be Austin Green Building Certified and the team will apply for LEED Platinum certification after the competition.