are projects that are of equivalent quality; worthy of comparison. Specifically for our research, these comparables are sustainable and contribute to our design process.



The Gate Residence in Cairo Egypt is a project to promote sustainability in the country as well as around the world. This multi-use building is comprised of 1,000 apartments, three floors of office space and 3 floors of commercial spaces. The building as a whole produces much of the resources it uses. It has green walls that reduce building temperatures, it has a rooftops community garden which serves not only for growing food but also aids as an insulation  for the apartments below. The wind turbines produce much of the energy consumes by the building. The roof has solar photo voltaic cells which not only absorb visible and infrared rays but ultraviolet ones as well. The very prominent wells throughout the building serve as wind catchers and light wells. The building also depends on passive geothermal heating and cooling systems as well as solar water heating tubes. The building represents a more conscious way of living and through its simple systems, allows for a very sustainable lifestyle.


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Located in Seattle, Washington, this six story structure is the tallest net zero office building in the world. The building integrates various systems to achieve net zero in energy, water and waste. These systems include a solar panel array that encompasses the entire roof, rain water harvesting, a closed loop geothermal heating system, composting toilets, constructed wetlands and triple glazed operable windows and blind for reduced solar heat gain and natural ventilation.



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An off- grid, resilient, autonomous home made for the tropical environment. Much like the Floridian climate, Queensland, Australia is located in the sub-tropical zone consisting of a great amount of sunshine, humidity, and oceanic winds.

The house uses only renewable resources as its sources of energy, such as the Photovoltaic panels on the roof which connect to the underground battery storage

Creating Visual interaction with the water, landscape and sky.




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ZEB Pilot House was designed by Snøhetta, located in Norway. It is a single family residence, but "the building is intended for use as a demonstration platform to facilitate learning on building methodology for plus houses with integrated sustainable solutions." (ArchDaily) The residence has roof top solar panels and collectors, as well as a runoff rain collector. Although there are sustainable systems in place, the importance of passive design is very important for the success of the project. The project is currently being monitored to see if the projected outcomes are accurate.




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Pich Architects have successfully designed a self-sustainable home. Using passive and active strategies for design, Pich have come up with innovative ways to incorporate these strategies into House Pomerat. Passive strategies such as natural ventilation, isolation, solar protection, and natural cooling systems through architecture design help this home minimize energy consumption.  Using active systems, a natural air conditioning system is used through Canadian Wells. This is a system that consists of multiple tubes placed at depths to circulate air to allow heat exchange of the air flowing. Water is recovered through a sewage system that separates rainwater from sewage water, this allows House Pomerat to recover the rainwater and reuse gray water. Rainwater is also collected in roof gardens, which helps improve the thermal insulation for the house. By incorporating all these strategies in the homes design, it results in savings of up to 30% in consumption compared with the consumption of a home reference.


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The Legion House located in Sydney Australia is a historically preserved building that has been renovated and converted into a 5 story autonomous office building by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp architects. Legion House’s sustainable and autonomous typology is seen through its construction and its systems. In the Legion House’s construction timber can from recycled sources, bricks from demolished area were reused, and high thermal performing curtain walls were installed. All of the Legion House’s electricity comes from a process called biomass gasification. This technology converts plant sourced materials, like recycled wood chips and recycled office paper waste from neighboring office buildings,  into a combustible gas (Syngas: primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and very often some carbon dioxide) to power its estimated daily need of 11,001kWH. Legion House’s Air Conditioning system eliminates excessive fan energy and energy to reheat via a chilled beams. All its estimated daily water use of 547 gallons is collected on the roof and managed through water high efficiency fixtures, vacuum toilets and the use of high quality rainwater recycling.



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This project is a product of a series of organizing modules collecting energy needed to create a sustainable living environment. Using a WOM (water organizing module), water is collected, used, and re-used up to 4 times. Through a POM (power organizing module), electricity is collected via solar and wind power, and distributed through the house. Sewage is managed by the gWOM (grey water organizing module), through which the greywater is collected and dispersed throughout the landscaping containers on the exterior of the house. Finally, the last system uses the sewage compost and water to grow food for its inhabitants. The combination of these systems creates a fully autonomous, highly efficient living environment.



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Earthship construction drawings are designed to meet standard building code requirements so you can get a permit no matter where you are. This design is beyond LEED Architecture, buildings that meet standard building codes. The greenhouse separated from the main living space allows for superior temperature control. Sustainability meets affordability in a home sized for one or small family livability. Earthship Biotecture estimates that annual utility bills for this home will not exceed $100 per year. The greenhouse contains different types of sustainable systems like, water, electricity, sewage treatment, comfort and food.




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The Iseami House located in the mountains of Playa Cartate, Costa Rica proves to be a successful architectural feat in being a totally autonomous type project. The site rests at 30km from the closest town forcing the house to be 100% self sufficient with no access to public electricity or public services. Luckily the property is privileged to have water access within the protected forest allowing to utilize the water flow to power two low impact hydroelectric generators. The hydro power generators can produce up to 800 Kw/H. Also the home utilizes solar panels on the roof at a strategic orientation that can produce up to 10.800 KH/H. In conjunction with the solar power system the home also takes advantage of using a solar hot water tank for water heating needs. Over all the home is rather stocked with active mechanical systems to provide for the occupants.




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Located in Moffett Field, California, this 50,000 square foot office building provides work space for NASA’s Ames Research Center, while simultaneously showcasing the agency’s cutting edge technological systems, including ones originally designed for space travel. The project was designed by architect William McDonough + Partners, known for sustainable design and as founder of Cradle to Cradle. The building generates more energy than it produces, uses 90% less water than that of a traditional building, and uses Cradle to Cradle approved non-toxic, recycled and recyclable materials where possible. Systems include a massive 85 kW solar system, a Bloom energy fuel cell, a small wind turbine, a super efficient greywater recycling system, geothermal heat wells, radiant heating/cooling, bioswales, and a forward osmosis water recycling system. The overall goal is to rely purely on renewable forms of energy as they become cost effective, adding technologies to experiment and utilize as they become available.


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The design intent behind the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is to create the most sustainable building in North America.  Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, this building houses researchers from public and private sectors working to advance innovation of sustainable technology in building practices.  CIRS uses a multitude of systems that ultimately make the building net positive, producing energy and water; meaning the building actually generates more resources than it uses.  Solar energy from photovoltaic panels, combined with waste heat collection from neighboring buildings, returns surplus energy to the building.  CIRS collects usable rainwater and purifies wastewater on-site, producing over 100% of the building’s requirement.  The Center also uses passive, natural systems such as a green roof, green wall, and rain garden to limit heat gain and channel storm water through the site.  With use of these innovative systems, the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability becomes a tool, as well as a workshop for sustainable design advancement.


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Run entirely on electricity – the majority of which is generated by photovoltaic solar panels – the building is lit by a combination of LED and fluorescent lights, which are switched on or off depending on the amount of daylight present. The building's roof collects rainwater, while sewage is treated, recycled and re-used onsite.




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BiomFAU is a graduate level course taught by Olivia Ramos, in which each individual student will formulate a structure that  functions off the grid. Collectively, imagining an infrastructure that communicates with buildings through data, rethinking and reestablishing the way architecture is designed. Focus will be given to the development of an innovative architectural prototype from systems that produce resources and are autonomous through the synthesis of financial analysis, research, development and technology.

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