Context is King: A Case Study of anAutonomous House in Sweden

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


Buildings are responsible for 40% of the energy used globally as well as emit asmuch as one third of greenhouse gas emissions. With small but widespread changes to theway we build and use our buildings, the built environment could quickly reduce our impact onthe environment. In Sweden young adults are leaving higher education with an everincreasing limiting set of choices, the housing market has been outstripping inflation for over20 years and the continuing deregulation of the housing markets, both private and municipalhas resulted in young adults returning home after their education has finished. Thereforethrough the design of buildings that are expected to last for at least 100 years there is a chanceto reduce our negative environmental impact and reduce the growing financial gap for youngadults, both important factors for sustainable developmentThe premise of the paper is to design a home for a small family that goes beyond greenbuilding standards of energy efficiency and takes into account the resource use and wasteproduction of the occupants. An autonomous house is identified and explored as the solution:a house that has no connections to the municipal systems that supply water and electricity northe municipal systems that deal with the waste produced by the occupants. This paper asks: Isan autonomous house possible in Sweden? And can one self-design and self-build anautonomous home as a way of avoiding the financial pitfalls of the regular housing market?This paper uses the Case Study methodology to follow the journey of the authors desire toreduce their impact on the surrounding environment. A final design is based upon the designmethodology A Pattern Language to develop and explore thoughts and ideas of the humanrequirements and the built environment’s interaction with nature. Given the length of timeallowed to produce this paper and to continue the narrative, the results of as-built home arealso presented and discussed. The final as-built solution thinks beyond the house as a singleentity and looks to the neighbourhood for solutions for resources that can be shared. The scaleof autonomy is expanded upon with autonomous communities seen as a solution with a strongrealisation that context is the main driver for design.

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