The award-winning Moonstone Project, designed using GRAPHISOFT’s ArchiCAD BIM software, is one of the UK’s best performing houses, exceeding the UK’s Code 6 Sustainable Homes Guide; the house also exceeds the German ‘Passivhaus’ top standard for energy efficiency by over 65%. Developer John Croft had a dream to build his own home in the idyllic setting of the Cotswolds. It took a few years, a lot of patience, research, and work to make this home the best it could be. At 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters), with a third of its structure underground, Moonstone meets a zero carbon footprint – an incredible accomplishment considering the house is 21 times larger than the average UK home. The house literally needs no energy as it was designed to meet, or exceed, the very highest environmental standards, while providing a beautiful and practical family home. More after the break.
Having been recommended ArchiCAD by a colleague, and armed with the initial 2D sketch design and xyz site survey data, John received his first full demonstration of ArchiCAD BIM software at a homebuilding and renovation show. After just two day’s hands-on tutoring, John was able to model the entire project from the base 2D drawings, highlight inconsistencies and potential design faults, as well as incorporate the 3D landscape terrain of the site, placing the house in context. Thanks to ArchiCAD’s Virtual Building model concept, John was able to create a digital model of the design and store all the related information in one single project file. From that integrated model database, he was able to quickly and efficiently produce plans, sections, elevations, construction details, schedules, and building management information.
The house is a testament to energy efficiency. For example, rain water from the immense curved roof area and driveway is stored underground in giant tanks. A two-tier vertical reed bed natural filtration system converts black and grey water into a fresh supply for drinking, washing, and flushing. As a result, there was no need to connect the house to a mains water supply. All windows are triple-glazed, and the exterior wall has a full 1/2m of solid stone and an additional 1/2m of solid, state-of-the-art extruded waterproof insulation as a thermal skin, resulting in insulation values 65% better than the very best Passivhaus standard. The house is so well insulated, that the heat given off by the individuals inside would be enough to heat it. Eighty percent of the house’s energy is generated from PV cell arrays on an outbuilding wall, which supply more electricity than the house uses. The surplus is fed back into the grid, generating an estimated income of £3,500/year (US$5,600).
As further proof of Moonstone’s outstanding energy efficiency, under-floor heating, powered from solar thermal panels with a ground source heat recovery system backup, was used for a total of only six days during the bitterly cold winter of 2009/2010, when the outside temperature plummeted to -13 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit). The house is lit entirely with energy efficient RGB based LED lamps. Creating white light from component Red Green and Blue LED’s actually uses less energy, capital cost is lower, and the overall color spectrum is much warmer than white LED based lamps.
According to John, “ArchiCAD BIM is a tool we definitely could not have lived without.” “It certainly saved us tens of thousands of pounds in cost savings on the project as we were able to analyze any design mistakes, clashes of materials, know where the MEP runs were going to go as well as evaluate building performance,” he added. John also cited his relationship with Applecore Designs as a key to his success. “When I purchased ArchiCAD, I got more than just the software – I got a relationship with the people at Applecore who were as committed to Moonstone’s success as I was,” he said. The project also utilized GRAPHISOFT’s EcoDesigner, which performs dynamic building energy evaluations, including annual consumption, carbon footprint and monthly energy balance.
A model of unique and contemporary design, the best in entertainment, security and environmental control, coupled with a zero carbon footprint, makes Moonstone a template for homes of the future. For more information: http://www.furryfeet.tv/corporatecut/moonstone/