By Debby Woodin
A house that is intended to become a one-stop shopping spot for passive solar and sustainable construction information has been designed for GreenTown Joplin.
Ten students in the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University have designed what is to be called the Monarch Eco-Home, and that plan is to be unveiled next week. The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Hive Business Center, 506 S. Main St. The students will be on hand to answer questions about the features of the house, as will representatives of GreenTown.
Catherine Hart, general manager of GreenTown Joplin, said the house will serve as an education center where people can learn about the systems and methods used in its construction, as well as examples of many other types of sustainable products.
“What we’re most excited about is that it’s net zero,” Hart said. “That means the house’s features combined are going to enable us to produce nearly as much energy, if not as much energy, as we use.”
Passive solar features such as south-facing windows combined with photovoltaic technology will deliver what Hart described as net zero or zero net energy consumption. Photovoltaic technology uses solar cells or panels to produce electricity. Exterior walls will be constructed with insulated concrete form structure, which is designed for energy conservation and provides wind resistance for storm safety.
“Inside the house we will have a demonstration area where people can learn about other systems, including energy saving features people can use even if they are renters,” Hart said. “There are lots of options for you no matter your situation, whether it’s for renters to reduce energy costs, or for people to live around less toxic products, or to have clean air for your children.”
Even the landscaping for the home is intended to be water-saving.
It will take a number of months to lay the groundwork for the construction project. Hart said the organization is working on selecting a lot on which to build. Land reclamation may have to be done since the location will be in the tornado zone. Partners and donors are still being sought to fund or provide materials or services for the project.
The house is part of GreenTown’s Chain of Eco-Homes program. That program involves building houses that are open to the public where people may learn about sustainability and energy efficient options.
The Drury students have made several field trips to get information from Joplin residents that would help them decide what features to incorporate in the house.
“This semester has offered a great opportunity to educate both the residents of Joplin as well as the students — the future designers of new buildings — about the benefits and practice of constructing sustainable buildings,” said JoahDebby Woodin 4/30/13 stet Bussert, project director for the Monarch Eco-Home, in a statement.
THE GREENTOWN PROJECT started in 2007 in Greensburg, Kan., where a tornado destroyed most of the town and officials decided to use green technology in rebuilding. GreenTown was extended to Joplin after the 2011 tornado.