ecotecture.GIF (12664 bytes)
Department of   Design and Environmental Analysis,
Cornell University
  1. External Considerations

  2. Core & Envelope

  3. Indoor Ecology

  4. Material/Product Content

  5. Ecotecture Worksheets

  6. Additional  information.

  7. Case Studies

Use the table of contents to go directly to specific topics:



Insulation/ Energy Efficiency

Design Considerations:

High Insulation-  Insulation plays an important role in the energy performance of a building.  Superinsulation- insulation that maximizes thermal resistance- is cost-effective in many parts of the country in lowering winter heat loss and summer cooling loads.  R-values which meet the codes should be considered only the bare minimum.  The payback for optimal insulation will most often justify the additional costs.

Low Emission-  The manufacture and installation of foam insulations commonly involves the use of CFCs or HCFCs, both of which should be avoided.  Some other types of foam insulation offgas formaldehyde or contain harmful chemicals.  Fiberglass contains small particles that can cause respiratory irritation when released into the air. 

Recyclable & Natural Materials-  Recycled newspapers and carpets are beginning to be used as a source of insulation.  Another solution being used by many environmentally conscious designers is air kreteš, a cement-like foam which is made of magnesium compounds extracted from seawater and mixed with dolomite and other minerals.  Clay, tile, stone, lumber, and plaster each achieve certain insulation and temperature-lag values that should be incorporated whenever possible.  The ability of porous materials to "breathe" provides a natural insulation process that enhances the building envelope's performance in a temperate climate.

Earth-covered Building-   The earth integrated building incorporates the natural abilities of surrounding soil and grass to help moderate interior temperature.  An earth-covered building will have a stable year round interior temperature as compared with a typical surface-built structure.

Asbestos-  Asbestos, a class of naturally occurring minerals composed of fibrous silicates, has long been known for its insulating properties.  It is now listed as a toxic substance under TOSCA and controlled by state codes.

DOE-2 Computer Modeling

Case Studies to Research:

Recyclable & Natural Materials-  
The Audubon Society, NYC headquarters was one of the first commercial scale applications of air kreteš.

Earth-covered Building-  
The Underground Gallery, Cape Cod, MA.
-Herman Miller- Miller SQA Facility, Zeeland, MI.
William McDonough + Partners

Further Information:

EPA / DOE Energy Star Program
Moore, F.  Environmental Control Systems: Heating, Lighting, Cooling.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, Inc, 1993.
The Ecology of Architecture: A Complete Guide to Creating the Environmentally Conscious  Building by Laura Zeiher.
Roy, Rob.  Super Insulated Houses and Underground Houses.  New York:  Sterling Publishing, 1994.
National Audubon Society Audubon House:  Building the Environmentally Responsible, Energy-Efficient Office.  New York, NY:  John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1994.

















































© Cornell University, December, 1998