I started the living building challenge because it appeared to model what I was trying to do in my life. Milieu Conception is my way of documenting and communicating my progress as I develop a living model of sustainability through living, design, research, building and education. The model will be a relatively cohesive amalgamation of modern living layered onto basic proven sustainable technology.
The base for this project will be my primary residence, a quarter acre of land situated in Aloha Oregon with an existing 1970s construction 1100 square foot ranch home with attached two car garage. The home and property has had some minor alterations and additions to it since I moved in as part of my research into sustainability. I have dismantled some of the alterations and additions. Those that remain include a 60′ x 8′ greenhouse/sunroom attached to the home on the south side, a 65 bed garden, grey water aquifer recharge system, two pear trees, two apple trees, walnut tree, and plum tree.
The project will consist of three distinct phases, each with a progressive goal towards sustainability and achieving living building pedals.
Phase 1 will be a “stop gap” phase used to prep the home for subsequent phases through energy reduction measures, modeling of phase 3 systems, reduced consumption, increase occupant capacity, develop rain water system, extend grey water system, install solar PV system, install solar hot water heating system, remove natural gas, remodel garage for occupancy, construct fence, expand garden/develop food system, develop waste handling system, solar light tubes in all livable spaces, develop bioswell/pond, correct drainage, remove/shorten driveway, and functionally divide home into two functionally separate living areas.
Phase 2 will be a monitoring and tweaking phase where I collect real data to determine the final design for phase 3.
Phase 3 in concept will be a full realization of all the theory, research and practical sustainable concepts applicable to the site. The roof will be raised on the north side to create a full south facing roof with increased solar PV system – increase in PV will be determined on status of feed in tariff. In addition, the roof pitch will be adjusted to be optimal for solar max solar gain. The increased roof area on north side will allow for a 1/2 second story to be added over the north half of the house. Basement with cellar, central heat plant, storage, and other will be developed below existing home and garage. Greenhouse/sunroom expanded in width and to match new roof pitch. All systems from phase 1 will be refined and developed for ideal utilization. Cobb walls constructed on exterior of building to increase insulation of building and add natural passive attributes unique to cobb structures. Develop compressed air and other energy storage mechanisms. Install methane digesters and waste processing system with bio return cycle.