In 2007, Greensburg, Kansas was hit by a tornado devastating the entire town. In the extreme weather conditions found here, the typical midwestern suburban house does not respond well when weather conditions spiral out of control. KaSe Study is designed to greatly reduce the amount of damage sustained in a tornado and capitalize on the opportunity to design in a sustainable manner.
KaSe Study takes advantage of passive heating and cooling strategies. Enviro-ment Masonry Units (EMU’s) are lime based blocks and used in the exterior walls and interior trombe wall. Windows along the south elevation allow the sun to penetrate and heat the passive EMU trombe wall used as the center spine. Sliding doors on the south elevation combined with clerestory windows on the north elevation maximize passive ventalation in the summer months.
An insulated white membrane “cool” roof lowers surface temperatures, which reduces the need for cooling equipment. The shape of the butterfly roof allows maximum sun penetration into the structure during the winter months and directs all the rainwater that falls on the roof into an exterior storage cistern. Rafter ties are utilized to strengthen and secure the roof down to the foundation.
A combined hydronic system uses hot water generated for the shower and dishwasher to also heat the building. Water is conserved through gray water recycling and high efficiency appliances, which also reduces energy costs. Best land use practices include raised vegetable planters and low maintenance landscaping. Storm water runoff is addressed through landscaped rain gardens, bioswales and permeable pavers used on the approach to the house.
This home is designed to achieve LEED Platinum standards. Fitting within the context of a tumultuous prairie environment, the design of this home is affordable, energy efficient and sustainable.
Project done as 3aD Architecture & Design; in partnership with Gail M. Cavanagh and Daniel Massaro.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Greensburg, KS, US