The Be Yourself
Simply put, the Be Yourself House attempts to allow
homeowners to move beyond simple questions of shelter and concentrating on
living. It does this by concentrating on
being Safe, Efficient, and Economical, and Liveable.
The Be Yourself house is:
- Wind Resistant
through the use of Clips and tiedowns.
- Flood resistant through 8'+ elevation.
- Rain flood resistant through front retainage
pond for stormwater.
- Burglary/Home invasion resistant through few
points of entry.
- Fire-resistant through fiber-cement faced
- Front planters may even help to stop any stray
bullets, which sadly, depending on the area, may or may not be a problem.
Simple in layout
- Efficient in plan through lack of corridors
- Open plan reduces number of walls constructed.
- Daylit spaces through high windows in nearly all
- Uplit rooms means fewer fixtures, more diffuse
light, as well as easier-to change bulbs.
- Linear fluorescent fixtures are used, as they
remain one of the most efficient, yet are also one of the cheapest.
Three seasons call for three distinct
In the winter the building is Passively-heated
with supplemental active heat if necessary.
The midday solar energy is captured through
East/West solar energy captured through
East/West windows through the leafless deciduous plants/trees
Insulated envelope and efficient AC takes care
of the rest.
In the Spring and fall, when possible, the
building can be passively-cooled through vernacular methods.
Cross-breezes encouraged through high openable
Midday solar gain reduced by shading southern
Further solar gain reduced through air-cooled
reflective aluminum siding.
In the summer, vernacular methods fall short, as
evidenced by the window AC units in many old shotguns. Here the building uses active cooling through
the efficient AC and insulation.
However, passive strategies are used to augment this, through passively
cooling both the envelope and the outside AC unit, leading to less work by the
AC unit, without undermining it by, for example, opening windows.
Midday solar gain reduced through roof shading
of southern windows, exterior walls at high solar angle.
Further solar gain reduced through south-facing,
air-cooled, reflective aluminum siding.
East/West sun reduced through shading by
Conductive heat gain reduced through
super-insulated SIPS envelope
Less heat loss through Ductwork, by running
it through insulated and conditioned
spaces, instead of a hot attic.
Short duct runs save cost of duct, reduce
friction within ducts.
- Efficient Layout
- Less plumbing required through clustered
- Less ductwork required through centralized unit
initial construction through use of pre-fabricated structural insulated
panels, that are immediately watertight.
- Cost-efficient interior finishes, through simply
taping, floating, and painting SIPS directly
- Cost-efficient exterior finishes through
aluminum siding, R-panel roofs.
Standard Hardiplank is used on facades, but sparingly.
- Cost efficient ground floor is simply longer
piles, rather than grade beams and additional piers.
Privacy from neighbors through high side
Acoustic privacy between rooms through central
insulated panel and closet/plumbing core
Aluminum siding over majority of house does not
need painting, and is elevated enough so as to not get dented.
Painted areas are small and accessible, for easy
repainting if necessary, or if a different color is desired.
Interior finishes on many walls are durable
through use of fiber-cement board, integral to the SIPS, rather than installed
Solar photovoltaic panels can be added to south
Solar Hot water panels can be added to South
Green roof effect through Trellises can be added
to North roof, North/South walls.
In this climate, the shading by a green roof is
useful, but the thermal mass of the dirt is not, due to low temperature swings.
Front Facade is easily homeowner-customizable.
It is small, easily accessible, and is not a
vital part of the envelope, but merely a railing to the balcony. This allows the level of pride, detail and
craftsmanship that has been so successful with traditional shotguns.
First floor is open-air, also easily
Since neither water tightness, structure, or
insulation is an issue below the house,
partitions can be added at will, creating whatever outdoor rooms are desired.
Fencing can be run between piles to create
Shipping containers from the Port can be
installed under the house for additional storage.
Also, the front porch is tucked under the house,
with the house itself acting as the back of a camelback. This allows the house to be sufficiently
raised without the front porch losing its immediacy to the street.
Great room is also easily customizable.
The large open great room can be easily
customized by furniture or partitions for different layouts for different
homeowners, or even for different events, for example a large living room for a
Super Bowl Watching party, or a larger dining room for Thanksgiving.
Walls, floors and ceilings are all made of Fiber-Cement panels on rigid insulation. Hardiplank and aluminum siding are attached to the exterior with an air gap for cooling