When I read about this building earlier in the week, I knew I wanted to share this inspirational project with you all. The Sunlight House was built in January 2010 in Austria, and was the country’s first ever carbon-neutral house. It was the result of a contest for young up-and-coming architects to design the ultimate energy efficient home, and this stunning design was created by the competition winner Hein-Troy Architekten. Since completion, the building has been awarded the Austrian State Prize for Environment and Energy Technology. With its sloping roof and large picture windows, the house maximises the use of natural daylight to heat and light the house. As a result, the energy output of the building is less than zero and it therefore has minimal impact on the climate. Sunlight House makes use of photovoltaics to harness the sun’s energy and create electricity. Through these solar panels and the solar warmth created through the use of energy efficient VELUX windows, the house will produce so much renewable energy with that it will cancel out all CO2 emissions caused by its construction within the next 30 years. Believe it or not, this house is constructed in a mountainous region, on a shawdowy plot, yet the interior is bathed in sunlight. In fact, the house actually makes use of VELUX awning blinds to provide extra shade when needed, which goes to show just how much daylight the home must be enjoying despite the tree-shaded location. These bright spaces and airy rooms are what dreams are made of, and to be completely carbon-neutral at the same time is a massive bonus. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all new homes in the UK were built in this same way? I recently read about the research by Dr Richard Hobday that showed that natural daylight, ventilation and cleanliness can help prevent disease and infection, so why wouldn’t we all want to have bright airy homes in the future, especially if it will help us live longer! Sure, I’m trying my best to make my home as light and welcoming as possible; I’ve removed heavy woodchip wallpaper, I’ve painted my walls bright white with low VOC paint, I’ve taken down the curtains and have let the daylight in with vertical blinds. But I’m sure that there’s more I can do to replicate this feeling of brightness in the Sunlight House.Okay, I know I can’t really make my rooms more spacious without a doing a lot of building work, but I’ve been totally inspired to increase the amount of daylight in my home and get more fresh air into my home. Over the coming years I’ll be making changes to the windows and possibly add some patio doors, a conservatory or extension to my home so when this happens I’m going to consider how it will affect the natural light. Skylights, larger windows and sun tubes are definitely at the top of my renovation list after seeing this amazing building and I hope it has inspired you too.
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