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Eco-accommodation which saves

First multi-comfort house constructed in Dzerzhinsk
By Svetlana Semenova

At an ecological conference recently, I heard from a German colleague that a private house can provide itself with its own energy. Solar panels on the roof of his cottage produce enough electricity to supply his house and to sell any excess to the national electrical network. It appears that this is not a new occurrence for Belarus either, as one pilot multi-comfort house has been already built in Dzerzhinsk.

“At the heart of its construction are the concept principles of sustainable development, and one of them says ‘we cannot live, borrowing from future generations, while exhausting resources and worsening the quality of the environment’. We should preserve the conditions and resources so those future generations will have the possibility to cover their own needs,” explains Alexander Kucheryavy, the Chief Architect of the project.

According to him, with the biggest consumers of the world’s generated energy being buildings, using around 40 percent, it is impossible to do without the help of architects, builders and scientific research institutes while dealing with this issue. The majority of designers and researchers see the solution as building ‘passive houses’, where heat losses are minimised, and consequently, energy consumption is reduced.

These principles formed the basis of the Belarusian multi-comfort house. The architect notes, that whilst the emphasis is placed on comfort in the premises, at the same time the house is environmentally friendly, and efficient from the point of view of energy consumption.

The correct arrangement of the building helps to save energy. The south side of the house in particular accumulates heat, and light is provided by big windows, whilst the northern side remains cooler. Alexander Kucheryavy says, “The right arrangement of windows in the building provides, not only the optimum daylight hours, but also negates the need of air conditioners in the hot season.”

This saving on heating, electric power and water heating reduces the cost of the maintenance of the building. But there is also a negative side. The application of these energy saving technologies initially increases the cost of a property by an average of 10-15 percent. As a result, such houses cost around $2,000 per square metre. However designers are optimistic about the project and see this as a reasonable price of the pilot house as, according to Germany’s experience, the running cost of these dwellings decreases subsequently by 30 percent.
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