Architect Nicolas Koff recently designed and built a modern and very sustainable home near Hamilton, Ontario. K-House, as the home is called is eco-friendly from the ground up and built using prefabricated 15.75-inch (40-centimetre) thick straw-bale walls. According to the architect, building a green home is about more than just installing solar panels, and K-House proves that.
The entire home was constructed using natural materials, traditional construction methods, and modern technology. It is kept warm with the aid of fireplaces and straw walls, which offer excellent insulation and greatly reduce the household’s energy consumption. Straw and fire don’t exactly mix well, but the straw used was actually in the form of super compressed bales, which, according to the architect, offer the same protection as any of the more commonly used building materials. The home also features a green roof, which is more of a rooftop meadow.
The cooling of the house is achieved via strategically placed windows, which allow for great cross-ventilation. The home is also fitted with rooftop solar panels, which are mounted on the home’s metal roof. This array is capable of meeting the household’s energy needs.
To keep the footprint of the home as small as possible the house is designed in a way that minimizes the number of corridors and takes maximum advantage of all available space. The structure is made up of two interconnected blocks, namely a lower private block, which is clad in charred cedar, and a taller, public block, which is clad in white plaster. The main living area is located on the ground floor of the plaster-clad block, while the laundry room, garage and guest bedroom are in the cedar-clad portion. The second story houses three bedrooms, a bathroom and a reading nook.
The home also features timber floors throughout, while the walls are all painted white to make the home appear lighter and more spacious. The home also features a storm water collection system designed to offset the home’s water consumption. This water is used to irrigate the garden and green roof.