Solar Power Systems
In traditional neighborhoods, AC power is utilized throughout the home both in appliances and outlets; however, solar panels generate strictly DC power. DC power is generally converted to AC, and during this conversion energy is lost. In order maximize the DC power generated by our solar power system, EnCity will utilize both AC and DC current. The DC energy gathered from the solar panels will charge a battery system used to power the home and any excess will be sold back to the grid. To achieve net zero energy consumption, our smart control system interfaces with our solar power system to coordinate buying and selling energy to the grid when necessary.
As the only team located in the Pacific Northwest, EnCity has a unique opportunity to capture and celebrate the abundant rain water of our region, utilizing it to minimize our water footprint. The design and construction of our roof and gutter systems not only allow for optimal solar panel placement, but also optimal rainwater collection. Our green roof and green wall will act as an initial biofiltration system for collected rainwater. Our appliances and fixtures have been chosen specifically to encourage reduced water use throughout the buildings. In order to reuse rainwater and greywater, we have an innovative water filtration system: the Imber. The Imber is a completely self-contained system designed to perform to Washington State water reuse standards – the strictest in the country. Greywater from sinks, washing machine, rain water etc will enter the Imber and undergo a four-step filtration system: filtration, coagulation, oxidation, and disinfection. The water released from the Imber will be used for toilet flushing and all above-ground irrigation since it will be treated to WA Class A reuse standards. Our water approach allows us to give water back to the environment in a cleaner state than when we brought it onto our site, replenishing the aquifer and reducing our overall water footprint.
Due to the passive nature of the design and our innovative air quality systems, EnCity requires minimal heating, cooling, and ventilation. In order to lessen the need for traditional cooling systems during warm summer months, EnCity utilizes mechanized windows controlled by the smart home system that can open and close based on weather, wind patterns and ventilation requirements. EnCity will be heated with through-the-wall heat recovery ventilators which will work in pairs to move air through the space and capture heat from air before it exits the envelope. The remaining minimal heating and cooling needs will be met by a single split mini ductless HVAC heat pump unit per building.
Renewable and recycled materials have been utilized in the construction of EnCity, both it’s structure and landscape. When old blades are replaced on wind turbines, the old blades are discarded and generally remain unused, so the decking around the landscape of EnCity is efficiently constructed with recycled wind turbine blades. The buildings in the house have been constructed using a compressed wood material called cross-laminated-timber – otherwise known as CLT – which allows for well-insulated, reasonably thin walls.