Bright Built Barn is Net-Zero Energy

"The next generation of sustainable building practices will not be about material performance or building imprint on local environments. The next generation of our most sustainable structures will be about designing with future adaptations and flexibility in mind, allowing the building to change overtime to adapt to both use and the environment. They will tell us when they are sick or healthy and sustain life itself."

The BrightBuilt Barn, designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects and built by Bensonwood, is a demonstration a net-zero building that attempts to do it all.

We have covered Bensonwood before; they try to build houses that last generations, using a process called "open building", where components in the house can be easily changed and upgraded. According to the extensive and thorough press kit, the Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) walls ensure an R-40 shell that needs no furnace, even in Maine.

They call it a 200-year house: " In today's building culture, the average lifespan of new built structures is measured in decades, not centuries. There is little economic incentive for a developer or original owners to create structures that outlast their lifetime. This means that the carbon debt incurred by building the structure has a relatively brief period of utility, before the structure is demolished and another structure built, incurring additional carbon debt. The BrightBuilt Barn, on the other hand, is designed and constructed to last indefinitely as a result of both the durable qualities of its materials and by keeping its systems disentangled, allowing for flexibility and adaptability of design. "

I had my doubts at first, thinking that if they are sitting that roof on top of a SIP they are dreaming, that there is no way a particle-board and styrofoam sandwich is going to hold up that roof for two hundred years. But on closer examination of the pictures and section below it appears that the SIP is only used as a cladding and not as a structural system. (I hope my reading is correct)

1. PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR PANELS
2. TYPICAL ROOF CONSTRUCTION
3. TIMBER RAFTER
4. COLLAR TIES
5. TIMBER PLATE
6. ARBOR TRELLIS
7. 25mm DUO-GARD PANELS W/NANO GEL
8. THERMOTECH FIBER GLASS WINDOWS, TRIPLE GLAZED
9. STRUCTURAL C-CHANNEL W/INJECTED URETHANE INSULATION
10. BUILT-IN MECHANICAL/SERVICE CHASE
11. TYPICAL WALL CONSTRUCTION
12. TYPICAL FLOOR CONSTRUCTION
13. LIGHT SKIRT CHAMFERED TIMBER, LED LIGHTING
14. FOUNDATION WALL
15. FOOTING


Other Notes:
Net-Zero: This building will generate more electricity over the course of a year than it uses.

Super Insulation: Continuous R-40 envelope (floors, wall, ceiling). This mid-coast Maine building requires NO FURNACE.

Open Source Collaboration: Team members have used web based communication systems to send and exchange information.

If it isn't the greenest project we have presented, it is certainly the best marketed, with a website, a wiki, a blog and an extensive press kit. We will check back when the interior is finished. ::Bright Built Barn
More on Net Zero Houses
The Net-Zero Energy Now House is Really Boring.
California To Require Net Zero Energy Buildings
More on Bensonwood
The Wired Home Goes Green: First Pix of Loblolly House
Open Building
The Open Prototype

Tags: Architects | Energy Efficiency | Small Spaces | Solar Energy

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