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Strathcona, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Designed for myself and my wife, this house is designed as an infill project in a historic neighborhood in Strathcona, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It has a high mass to surface area ratio (compact multi-story), abundant insulation and accepts the sun’s heat in the winter while providing shade from the summer heat. In this design, straw bale walls provide both thermal mass and super-insulation from the cold. Window penetrations through the straw bale walls are kept to a minimum with the majority of the glazing located on the south end of the residence. The use of 3 1/2” earthen floors and a central masonry heater maximize interior thermal mass. Horizontal louvers shade the house from summer heat while admitting the low winter heat where it can be absorbed by the interior thermal mass.

Key elements of the design are:

  • 20" thick straw bale walls with clay/lime plaster interior and exterior finish
  • 3.5" thick radiant heated earthen floors
  • Central masonry heater incorporating two Rumford fireplaces a contra-flow masonry heater and boiler flues
  • Southern greenhouse/solarium with active air circulation through masonry heater and exterior louvers which shade the summer sun
  • Greenhouse/solarium functions as entry vestibule
  • Natural ventilation via operable windows
  • Mechanical ventilation via central whole-house fan
  • Bowed metal roof with ventilated attic and 15” high density cellulose insulation
  • Traditional front porch as encouraged by the zoning bylaws and fitting the neighborhood.
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© 2004 ----- copyright - Eugene A. Silva all rights reserved.