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Swall Institute -> Design Solution

General Design Issues
Since design aesthetics are highly personal, we describe here the functional reasons why we chose the design that we did:

* Simple, open floor plan – easy to heat and circulate air and easy to fill with day light.
* Small (1250 ft2 or 135 m2) – less materials to buy, less labor, and therefore less expensive to build; cozy feel that encourages creative and playful use of space.
* Open loft – given the relatively small design, the open loft provides vertical complexity and open space that makes the space appear larger than it is.
* Simple roof line and simple lines/angles – keeping the shell relatively simple, with mostly square angles helped significantly cut construction costs while creating an elegant, contemporary look.
* Decorative wood and stained floor – given the contemporary, ‘boxy’ design, abundant decorative wood and rust-colored floor helped add warmth and coziness.

Summary of Green Features on a Tight Budget:

• Optimal placement of low E windows and overhangs for passive solar design
• Well insulated and tight envelope
• Concrete floor and radiant heating for increased thermal mass
• Active solar heating of domestic hot water and floors
• Heat Recovery Ventilator and Drain Heat Recovery systems
• Extensive day lighting combined with efficient LED and CFL lighting
• Recycled metal roof, recycled cork flooring
• Re-used sinks, bathtub, and kitchen range
• All decorative interior wood is salvaged firewood
• All counters and cabinets are fast growing bamboo
• Small and compact, yet comfortable, floor plan