Completion Date: November 2015


Villa Circuitus, Vaxjo, Sweden

Villa Circuitus, a recently completed eco-home in Sweden, is built to meet passive house requirements, with strict demands in terms of environmental design and construction materials. This is the first circular passive house to be built in Sweden and the innovative round shape was carefully designed to expose the smallest surface possible to the outdoor air, thus reducing heat loss. The building is a spacious, circular 175 sq. m passive house containing four bedrooms and open plan kitchen and dining area.

Sustainability was of paramount importance for the project’s developers Simone Kreutzer and Tommy Wesslund, certified passive house experts with specific expertise in energy and ventilation as well as architect Nina Sandahl, from SAJT Arkitektstudio AB. This made Kebony, the sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, a natural choice for this eco-build. The house is built on a wooden frame with Kebony cladding, combining strength, resilience and beauty while negating the need for tropical hardwood, and minimising the impact on rainforests.

Kebony technology gives sustainably sourced softwoods the best characteristics of tropical hardwoods so that wood can again bring beauty and strength to construction. Its maintenance-free long life cycle reduces the demand for tropical hardwood and helps protect tropical forests. A third of the world’s rainforests have disappeared in the last 50 years, a loss of around 6 million hectares a year, and the equivalent of 8.5 million football pitches. One of the reasons tropical forests are being cut down so rapidly is demand for hardwoods, such as teak, for use in design and construction materials. Global demand is a major environmental issue; the Amazon alone provides 20% of the world’s fresh water and oxygen and, despite increasing regulation, deforestation is still happening on a vast scale and is responsible for 20% of global CO2 emissions.

Kebony offers a solution to this issue, allowing this project to stand out in terms of its sustainable approach to construction. In addition, recycled paper and glass are used throughout the structure and the house also has a 35 sq. m veranda on the second story surrounded by a balustrade with integrated solar panels, making the home self-sufficient for most of the year.

Large, custom made windows, which retain twice as much heat as normal windows, are placed around the building’s perimeter to bring in lots of natural light, while also helping to heat the building. The air circulating through the house is kept at a steady temperature by a two stage heat exchanger which passes the air through a ground based water heater then a post-heater. This two stage process both warms the air in winter and cools it in summer.

Kebony cladding gives this passive house its distinctive look, as the wooden planks are interspersed with brightly coloured orange panels. The colour of the wood mellows over time from a rich brown to a silver grey patina, giving the whole structure a quiet, natural look, while the contrasting orange panels emulate the warmth and comfort emanating from the interior.

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