The infrastructures of the city need to be rethought and reorganised in this context:
• Through the integration of urban functions with building technology, the house becomes an active participant in a (communicative, i.e. feedback) network.
Water systems, power generation, the use of waste heat, miniature pumps, and combined heat and power are installed and deployed locally or in the immediate vicinity. Much of the energy consumed in buildings is to be recovered in the future from existing local anergy, to reduce the proportion of high exergy.
• A performative understanding of materials and technologies enables and fosters a new approach to the architectural design process.
A paradigm shift towards decentralised infrastructure systems is becoming apparent. By decentralisation we mean the integration of urban functions with building technology.
These days, it can be observed that sustainability forms the background to many design decisions.
• Smart materials and smart technologies, through their adaptive functions, make it possible to control energy and material flows sustainably.
• The adaptability of smart materials endows time processes with great significance.
For this purpose, the existing categories of materials must be considered afresh, because smart materials, being active, take on opposing properties and functions at different times. Material and technological innovations in architectural history were always associated with a fundamental change in what architecture could and should be.
As its starting point for the “Smart Material Houses” theme, the International Building Exhibition Hamburg (IBA) presented the following basic ideas. Smart materials are active, with a transformative character. They respond to changing environmental conditions. In an intelligent interaction with “smart technologies”, this process can be extended to the level of networked building services, and can monitor and optimise energy and material maintenance.
A “Smart Material House” is a new form of residential building in which adaptable architectural designs can be combined with intelligent technologies and construction materials. As one of the main themes of the “Building Exhibition within the Building Exhibition”, these constitute an architectural pilot project, using four exemplary building types to show how new technological approaches can be translated into a forwardlooking architectural language, and traditional techniques reinterpreted.
... since a large proportion of these materials draw energy directly or indirectly from the surrounding environment.
Smart materials can be found in nature. Microalgae, for example, can be bred in the glass sections of façades: they then use photosynthesis to turn solar thermal energy into heat energy, biomass, and heat. The façade itself becomes part of the building services.
These special characteristics result from physical or chemical influences, such as varying temperatures or sunlight falling on the building material.
The building shell is one of the most crucial elements in this respect: the use of smart materials in the façade can enable energy and material flows to be improved and kept as low as possible,...
“Smart materials” are materials, material systems, and products that can be derived from them that behave not in a static but a dynamic way, in contrast to conventional building materials. In other words, because of their nature, these materials react to changing environmental conditions and adapt to them.
At first glance, these improvements and possibilities are nearly unbelievable.
We combined our ancestors' traditional methods with modern technology and found the solutions needed in the 21st century.
- Natural cooling effect in summer months and warming effect in winter.
- Minimal room temperature fluctuations due to the slow cooling down (Thermal Mass) of the wooden walls.
- Up to 3,500 heart beats less per day (wood soothes the heart)
- A dream atmosphere for allergic and sensitive people
With this system we achieved:
- A world record in thermal insulation of any structural building products
- A 5 times better fire safety ratings than conventional buildings
- 99.9% effective barrier to electromagnetic radiation, e.g. cell phones, microwaves, etc.
To make this vision reality, I have founded a Scientific Research Centre in Goldegg where we test and investigate traditional 'Moon Timber' and building methods. We are finding extraordinary evidence for its longevity and have been able to develop and patent our Holz100 System which consists of prefabricated 100% natural wood elements.
While I was writing this book, I didn't anticipate the overwhelming appreciation and rising awareness towards sustainable forestry management and the influence of the moon. My passion is to build solid wooden homes which are (technically and scientifically measurably) superior in all building disciplines and regulations to conventional homes.
Some woods like Douglas fir and Larch, disintegrate much slower than other species such as Spruce and Pine. Additionally to carefully selecting weatherproof and long lasting woods, we can use particular building techniques which further delay the decaying process.
The oldest preserved dwellings are solely built with stone and untreated wood and have survived for millenia.
Timber constructions outdoors
Nature intended wood to weather and finally break down into mulch to close the natural cycle.
When restoring the building, all infested wooden components should be generously removed and any existing strands of fungi should be eliminated from the masonry, brick and stone work with a blowtorch.
How to prevent dry rot? If the house has been built in a constructive and proper way, it usually is enough to make sure there are no rotting piles of wood, old building parts or off cuts which provide feeding and breeding ground anywhere close to the building.
The true dry rot needs damp wood (more than 20%) to grow, however, once established it can grow several meters long in up to one centimeter thick strands. These strands transport water to neighbouring, dry areas and dampen these for the infestation to spread.
Condensation and dew water still remain risky for wood frame walls.
It is important to ask professional tradesmen about all types of insulation. Ask them to calculate the dew point for every ceiling and wall construction and to confirm their results in writing.
Condensation, Frost and Foils:
To build a more energy efficient home, more and better thermal insulation is in demand. However proper insulation needs to dam and should not seal. Avoid water and air tight foils (vapor barriers) and rather use a recommended vapor retardant instead of a barrier.
Keep wood off the moist earth. Cladding and posts should never end up in the ground or soil. Make sure you build on sufficient foundation made from brick, concrete or rock.
(Plinth for wooden post, foundation made from rocks, and back ventilation of vertical weather bonding)
Burning pellets for heating has led to a drastic lowering of the CO2 emissions. At the same time, forestry framers are achieving better and fairer prices for their wood off cuts and leftovers. In Austria alone there are more Biomasseheizungen being installed every year than oil heaters. May the day come when trees are not being turned into toxic building materials!
The last active windmill in Austria is as much an example as all the other tourist attractions of this vine growing area which is so very rich in culture and beautiful attractions!
Only a decade later, Biomasseheizungen and wood pellets are vital parts part of the international climate discussions in politics.
Holz100 Canada Inc.