Our health enhancing strategy is not limited to a technological solution or use of materials that present no health hazards. According to the famous quotation of Winston Churchill (1943) “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us“, our approach is more complex. We choose materials in accordance to how they affect all 5 human senses. To respect human circadian rhythm, we focus on visual comfort; we program the artificial lighting to correspond to natural lighting conditions.We believe, that the choice of materials defines the quality of the inner environment.
The AIR HOUSE is made entirely of wood, not only the load‐bearing structure, but also the thermal insulation, facade, finishing and furniture. We use an innovative massive building system ‐ a so called Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) made by Stora Enso. The wood in the CLT is from sustainably grown forests, and is laminated with nontoxic glues. The panels are strong enough to be used in earthquake or hurricane prone areas. The computer numerically controlled (CNC) cutting process done by Dřevostavby Biskup allows the panels to be cut precisely and meet very tight tolerances. Because the panels are solid, there is little potential for airflow through the system. Modular furniture units made of CLT panels, at the same time construction components of the house, function as elements of structure and storage. In the interior, they are visible, and create a pleasant, warm living climate.
Vapor Permeable Construction
Due to a diffusion-open structure, AIR House can breathe. The exterior weight-bearing structure made of massive CLT panels is equipped with thermal insulation panels. The interior side of the sandwich panel made of Steico wood fiber thermal insulation is shielded with an OSB board, the exterior side is covered by a DHF fiberboard. The interior CLT panel along with the OSB board function as a so-called vapor retarder not inhibiting vapor admission into the construction, only limiting its amount. Diffusion-open constructions are being used for hundreds of years in the form of monolayer stone, brick, clay or massive wood constructions.
Radiant Cooling and Heating
The primary system of the AIR House low-temperature heating and high-temperature cooling is provided by radiant chilled ceiling panels REHAU. Sheets of plasterboard panels with in-milled pockets and embedded PVC pipes are the basis. The cooling performance is up to 75 W/m2. From the heat comfort point of view, low air flow whirling a minimum of dust and microorganisms in the room, is an advantage. Compared to conventional heating, the room temperature is steadier which enables its decreasing by 1 – 2°C without affecting heat comfort of the inhabitants. This effect enables us to save a considerable amount of energy.
In the Czech Republic climate, the house will be ventilated naturally most of the year. During winter and for the competition purposes, we will use recuperation of waste heat. Heat recuperation ventilation system ensures optimal air exchange and during ventilation minimizes heat loss, which represents up to 40% of the entire loss of the building in standard family houses. In the AIR House, the interior air quality is provided by a Duplex RB4 EC ATREA hot-air ventilation unit. The hot-air ventilation unit is connected to an outer loop control and intelligent house control with data collection.
Manufacturers claim that, compared to a standard light bulb, LED lighting saves 85% of energy and their life span is 35 times longer. In the AIR House, LED light sources are ideal and in the exterior, they are used exclusively. In the interior, we use LED lighting only in some places and with due consideration (the kitchen counter, indirect lighting in the bathroom, overall lighting of the living area) and we supplement it with local bulb lighting. Why? The human organism functions in a certain natural – circadian rhythm (in Latin circa - roughly, diem – day). It is operated by the so-called inner biological clock. In a natural environment, its most important synchronizer is a regular variation of light and darkness. In an environment with mostly artificial lighting, the color spectrum of the light source is crucial. The blue light, so typical for LED, stimulates activity. On the contrary, in the evening, full-spectrum bulb lighting is advisable; it endorses production of melatonin, the hormone of sleep and physical regeneration.