Phuket Eco-Home

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Phuket Eco-Home

Postby grant » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:41 pm

After nine months of planning, we are now moving forward with the construction phase of our eco-home. This forum has been provided a wealth of information that is so critical in the planning stages and it will continue to be as we proceed through the various phases of construction. The home has been designed from the ground up to be sustainable (as much as practical considering Thailand offers no incentives to do so) by an architect who specializes in sustainable designs. The house will incorporate the following:

* Solar and wind power to supplement electricity. Eventually we hope to be energy neutral when Thailand finally offers incentives.

* Flat garden rooftops on all structures to minimize heat gain.

* The structures are built partially into the hillside to moderate the internal temperature using thermal mass.

* Super efficient air conditioning.

* Open plan design to maximize air flow throughout the house.

* Incorporation of internal courtyards throughout.

* Minimal concrete decking surrounding the house. All decking and flooring materials will be recycled wood.

* Water collection and storage system to make the villa self-sufficient even through the dry season..

* 1.2 meter roof overhangs to shade window and wall surfaces from the sun.

* Orientation and landscaping to minimize exposure to the mid-late afternoon sun.

The total built up area is about 600 square meters. The house includes 3 bedrooms plus study, gym and a 18 x 4 m lap pool. Estimated completion time is 10 months.
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dama_zAmya_model-115.jpg
dama_zAmya_model-101.jpg
Last edited by grant on Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nawty » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:29 pm

Interesting, will follow your construction as it goes.

I am interested to do similar in Bkk, but not for that kind of cost.

Do you have any figures for what the 'green' side of construction is costing over and above normal construction costs ?

Good luck with it all.
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Postby dozer » Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:49 pm

I really like the models, did the architects provide an actual physical model (which it looks like) or is it a render?
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Postby gdublanko » Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:21 pm

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Postby grant » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:16 pm

The model was supplied by the architect and has proven to be very useful for the contractors due to the unique design. Autocad is great, but nothing beats a physical scale model.

Most of the sustainable and green concepts do not add any additional costs with the exception of the solar/wind power and the high efficiency air conditioning. Solar will add about 1 million baht to the project and without incentives is still very expensive in Thailand. The wind turbine will add about 350,000 baht and provide about the same amount of electricity as the solar panels. Both systems will be grid connected so that our meter will spin backwards when we are generating more electricity than we are using. The high efficiency air con adds about 200,000 baht. The overall cost of the villa is high not only because of the solar/wind power but also due to the size and a relatively high spec. Without the solar/wind, and a more moderate spec, it could probably be built for around 10-12 million baht. Building in Phuket also adds to the cost as costs in general tend to be higher here.
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Postby Nawty » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:17 pm

Can you explain the high efficiency aircon some more, i am interested in this type of thing for a Bkk house.

The build cost, even without the eco extras seems very high, even for Phuket which I know is expensive and builders charge a lot more...cos they can...etc. I am building a house, middle to high end fittings and is 430sqm for around 6 mil.....thats why I am curious to your costs.

I guess the solar and wind use is purely a self conscious choice rather than a environmentally and cost saving excercise then.
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Postby jazzman » Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:01 pm

Solar PV energy would be totally out of the question for a project like this if cost saving vis-à-vis grid energy is taken into account. On Thai electricity prices your family would need to live in the house for about three hundred years :D

However, as a design project where budget is immaterial, yours could be a showhouse worthy of a mention in the up-market housing press.

Do take into account that yours is a very large domestic swimming pool. All Phucket suppliers will blatantly overcharge by well over 100% without so much as blushing :(
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Postby grant » Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:18 am

The air conditioning system is made by Toshiba. Detailed specs can be found here http://www.toshiba-aircon.co.uk/bus_mini_smms.htm

Some of the reasons for the higher than usual build costs:

* The villa is really two separate structures connected by a third and is spread out over a large area. This contributes significantly to the construction costs.

* The villa will be built on a hillside requiring a significant piling operation and retaining walls for the substructure.

* We've decided to go with an electrical contractor who is probably the best in Phuket and he charges a premium that is about 50% higher than your average contractor. I recently sold a luxury villa that I bought off plan from a developer in 2000. I learned from that experience how dangerous Thai electrical installations can be and was not prepared to compromise in this area. My knowledge of electricity is minimal so I wanted a contractor who I could communicate with and who has a track record of installations completed to a high western standard. I find it incredible that most of the luxury villas being built here still use very basic Thai electrical standards and most people have no idea what they are buying.

* The villa will be built using fair-faced concrete throughout. This adds to the cost as all of the forms have to be custom made.

Our budget is not unlimited, but we decided from the outset that generating at least some of our own electricity was a prerequisite and so we factored in the cost at a very early stage. Therefore payback time was not a consideration. We have decided to become a leader rather than a follower in this area and the villa will be used a model for sustainable building design.

The swimming pool structure is being built using our labour only contractor and we are using a specialist firm to handle the plumbing, etc. His costs are reasonable.
Last edited by grant on Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chiangmaiexpat » Sat May 17, 2008 10:01 am

That's a fantastic design if I may say so. I love the way the building fits into the topology of the site almost being a natural extension of it. Also, the wedge shape creates a lovely inner space with private corners and interesting views and I think the design exploits this to the fullest. I see a loose relationship with traditional cluster houses in Thailand, since the structure is spread out and the bottom floors are left empty. The obvious deviation from traditional style are the facades and the flat roofs which give the house a distinctly modern appearance; they are probably also useful for mounting the solar panels on top.

I've been looking into eco design a while ago, but I sort of gave up on the idea, because there is virtually no support for it in Thailand. I assume that it would be quite some headache to get builders to execute such a design, not to mention to master the technical challenges of an eco building. Mind you, if I could dedicate enough time to such a project, I would love to do it (albeit on a smaller budget... can't afford 15mil :wink:). However, with a full time job, two small kids, and little free time, I probably go with something more conventional. Anyway, kudos to you for pioneering the sustainable house idea. That's probably the future! It would be nice to get an update to see how the project is progressing.

Cheers, CMX
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Postby grant » Sat May 17, 2008 1:37 pm

Thailand may finally be on the verge of offering incentives for renewable energy. The following article was in the Bangkok Post this week:

Government preparing energy-saving tax measures

May 12, 2008 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The government is preparing tax measures to encourage people to use more alternative energy to reduce oil consumption.

According to Surapong Suebwonglee, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, related agencies are scheduled to meet this week to finalise tax incentives for alternative energy and energy preservation.

He declined to discuss more details but stressed that the new tax measure aims to encourage people to use more alternative energy in lieu of fuel oil.

However, he insisted the incentive was unlikely to be in the form of an excise tax reduction for diesel or any sort of subsidies because that would not benefit the public.

Dr Surapong said the government would also consider extending the tax reduction for equipment and vehicles that are modified to use natural gas.

Tax cuts for natural gas-based equipment and vehicles are due to be stopped in December this year.

A source from the industry sector said the new tax cuts were expected to cover solar cells and wind energy.

The tax exemption for imported cars that use E85, an 85 percent-ethanol mix, was also likely in the new tax package. Dr Surapong said the government also pledged to speed up investment in mass-transit project, and logistics development in order to build up investor confidence.

Huge investments to promote the public health sector were scheduled to go before the government this week.

According to Mr Surapong, a proposal to invest 359 billion baht to develop the country's rail system would be also tabled for cabinet approval on Tuesday of this week.

The investments would cover three projects to be handled by the State Railway of Thailand, with the first project requiring about 39 billion baht to improve efficiency on the 4,028-kilometre railway network.
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Postby grant » Sat May 17, 2008 1:56 pm

Here are a few pictures taken over the past several 3 months since construction began in Febraury.
Attachments
P1030470.JPG
The cantilevered swimming pool.
P1030567.JPG
The forms for a large fair-faced concrete wall. These forms are dismantled, cleaned and rebuilt after each pour.
P1030563.JPG
Ready to pour the walls and columns of level 1 main building.
P1030467.JPG
The first fair-faced concrete wall. External wall of the water storage tank.
P1030337.JPG
Level 1 Main Building Slab and Columns Preparation
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Postby Nawty » Sat May 17, 2008 5:08 pm

Nice view from the house.

I recently asked about solar powering a house and was told that the expense was just not worth it. I had thought they had made innovations with technology to bring the cost and efficiency way down and better, but apparently it is the storage of the power which is so costly.

Any thoughts on this ?

Also interested to see what is supporting that swimming pool underneath in more detail.
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Postby Nawty » Sat May 17, 2008 5:19 pm

Also is your architect that you mentioned that specilaises is enviro designs, is he based in Phuket or elsewhere and if you don't mind, what is his fees ?
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Postby grant » Sat May 17, 2008 6:46 pm

Nawty,

I only have one picture of the pool foundation unfortunately and it's not very good. Basically the foundation of the pool is about 4 m wide x 18 m long which is the length and width of the pool and 30 cm thick. There is a lot of very heavy rebar in the foundation and pool floor slab.

My architect is not based in Phuket unfortunately, he is based on Kuala Lumpur. We started the design of the villa while I was living and working in KL 2 years ago before relocating to Phuket permanently. His fees are 10% of the overall construction cost and he comes to Phuket about once a month for 2-3 days.
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P1030388.JPG
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Postby grant » Sat May 17, 2008 6:55 pm

Nawty wrote:Nice view from the house.

I recently asked about solar powering a house and was told that the expense was just not worth it. I had thought they had made innovations with technology to bring the cost and efficiency way down and better, but apparently it is the storage of the power which is so costly.

Any thoughts on this ?

Also interested to see what is supporting that swimming pool underneath in more detail.


The cost of manufacturing solar panels has come down somewhat with technology improvements over the years but the efficiencies are still pretty low. Batteries are still very expensive but nano technology will eventually overcome the current battery limitations, it's just a matter of time. There is a huge amount of R&D taking place right now in renewables and the fruits of these efforts will likely be seen in the next 5 years or so. The biggest deterrent in Thailand to the use of renewable energy sources is the lack of incentives. Hopefully, that is about to change and may make grid connected solar and wind systems more viable.
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