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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:




Design Considerations:

Materials- Use dark, heat absorbing materials in colder climates.  Use light, reflective materials in warm climates.  Consider recycled and local materials. 

Storm Water Drainage- Consider directing storm water into underground cisterns or storage tanks.  Do not direct the storm water into one place, because this will cause erosion.  Allow the water to flow off of the roof in many places, and control where the water will flow, once it hits the ground.  Gutters can be used, but must be maintained to avoid any possible blocking.  This can cause water damage to the roof.

Roof top units-  The air intake units should be located away from loading docks and streets, or factory smoke stacks.

Solar Units-  Photovoltaic power and fuel cells generate enough electricity to cover the building’s base load during nighttime hours.  These are non-polluting, producing only hot water and CO2 as by-products.

Consult with mechanical engineers

Case Studies to research:

Picard Residence, CA.
John Picard (use of recycled rubber for roofing insulates the home)

Storm Water Drainage- 
The Gap Inc. in San Bruno, CA 
William McDonough + Partners
(uses a grass roof to attract rain  water and decrease run-off.  The grass roof also acts as insulation from heat from the sun).

Roof top units-  
The National Audubon Society Headquarters, New York, NY 
Croxton Collaborative Associates

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