Class Update: Siding, Landscape and BMS
InSite March Update: Landscaping, Siding, and Monitoring Systems!
The Middlebury Team’s InSite Construction Documentation and Management classes are making progress on designs regarding landscaping details, siding materials and an energy monitoring system.
Ellie, Stella and Seton have been working on our siding designs, and are exploring options for using local reclaimed barn wood on the house. This past week, they drove to Ferrisburg to meet with Adam of Small House Reclaimed Carpentry. Adam showed them a barn in Vergennes that he plans to salvage. Adam’s interest in the project and his passion for reusing resources for construction made a lasting impression on the group. Another interesting part of using this barn wood is that Adam is willing to let the students help disassemble the barn, giving the team a unique opportunity to learn more about construction material acquisition. Using reclaimed and recycled materials supports the team’s overall mission of using materials with low-embodied energy.
Ellen has led the charge on the complicated landscape design. The Southern Californian climate of Irvine in conjunction with the asphalt at the competition site creates major restrictions for what can be planted. As a solution for the lack of a fertile gardening environment, Ellen has envisioned a pea gravel garden, which can be formed to create more organic shapes around the house. Vegetation plans include plants native to Irvine, which can handle the dry climate: specifically two different species of grass, buckwheat, blue sage, creeping sagebrush, coastal sunflower and yarrow. This will also create a color landscape of blue, purple, grey, and yellow, which should nicely complement the blue-grey siding planned for the house.
Ellen’s design will also implement planter boxes that follow the path of the house and the walkways, and raised plant mounds. She is also exploring the potential of incorporating works of recycled art into the landscaping.
Meanwhile, Noah and Brendan have been working hard on developing the design of our Building Monitoring System (BMS), which monitors the energy usage of the house. The main purpose is to create a system that provides feedback for residents of the house so that they can change their habits to use less energy in their lives. The BMS should provide a visually appealing, easy way to understand information about the energy produced and consumed as well as water used in the house. This information will be presented on an interactive touch screen dashboard.
The team has been interested in modifying Lucid’s energy monitoring system, which is used on many energy-conscious campuses including Middlebury College. These modifications would include providing real-time payback calculations, feedback on raw data, and weather analysis; in addition to controlling appliances, and connecting to the online world. They also want to create a range of “good” and “bad” consumption, so that the system can provide users with simple feedback on the consumption of individual utilities in the home.
This project has our team brainstorming different ideas about how the public interacts with information about their energy consumption habits. In particular, the hope is that this stream of information will create a long-term change in behavior. We discussed many different ways that the system can alert users and provide feedback, and how to integrate it into daily activities and needs.