This is Heliodomo, the bioclimatic house that needs almost no heating or cooling
Bioconstruction is the path towards the decarbonization of the sector, since building is one of the activities that causes the most greenhouse gas emissions every year. There are many ways to minimize the impact of housing, making better use of and reusing resources. The heliodome is an example of this type of house that leaves hardly any ecological footprint (much less than conventional ones, in any case) and is gaining more acceptance every day. It is based on making the most of sunlight at any time of the year.
Eric Wasser claims not to be an architect, but simply a cabinetmaker in love with architecture, and that he designed a few years ago a house adapted to the path of the sun at any time of the year. In this way, the heliodome manages to maintain a relatively cool temperature in the summer months, while in winter it enjoys the full intensity of the sun’s rays. Wasser completed his passive solar house in 2011 in the village of Coswiller in the Alsace region of France, and since then he has hardly used any electricity. The same model has already been replicated elsewhere.
Wasser recalls that “all civilizations, since the Stone Age, have oriented their dwellings towards the sun,” so the heliodome merely recaptures and optimizes this ancient custom.
Everything works on the basis of a very simple principle: the sun is not at the same height in summer as it is in winter as it travels across the sky. Knowing this, Eric Wasser designed a house with a structure made in such a way that in summer, when the sun is at the top of the sky, it does not hit the main facade, built at a slant, so it is fully protected by the roof. In addition, thanks to perfect insulation and the elimination of structures or materials that can retain heat, it is possible to keep cool air inside. The openings are also strategically placed so that they do not increase the heat inside the house.
In winter, the situation is different. The main facade faces south and is completely transparent and curved in an east-west direction. This makes the most of both the light and the heat of the sun in winter, when the sun travels lower over the horizon and its rays must be captured during the few hours when it is visible in the sky. In this way, free heating is obtained. For this, the insulation of the structure is essential.
With the Passivhaus seal
This house in the shape of a spinning top (although some see it as a UFO in the middle of the countryside) is an example of bioclimatic construction that has achieved the passivhaus seal (passive house) awarded by the Passivhaus Institute of Germany, by meeting the legally required requirements for it, including low energy consumption for heating.
The heliodome house, made of wood, glass and concrete, is a clear response to the need to restrict energy and CO2 emissions. It provides free heating in winter and natural cooling in summer.
Eric’s house is located in the Alsace region, where the climate is quite harsh, so a wood-burning stove was added in case it gets too cold, but the owner says he uses it very little.
For hot water, solar panels were installed that allow him to heat the water, but also to evacuate some of the heat, thus avoiding scorching temperatures indoors.
The construction costs are reasonable, and certainly well below the cost of this 200-square-meter dwelling in the city of Paris, according to its inventor. It should be borne in mind that the savings in heating and cooling at the end of the year allow the initial costs to be amortized over a not excessively long period of time.
More information on the Heliodomo can be found on this website, or more information can be requested on the official website.