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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Do Good House & Urban Farming: Interview with Dr. Chun-Hsien Ho, Part 1 of 2

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Dr. Chun-Hsien Ho of Taiwan, also known as Formosa, was once a mathematics teacher and business owner. Having obtained a Ph.D. degree in marine engineering from National Taiwan University, Dr. Ho used his problem-solving skills to build an amazing environmentally friendly and zero-energy building, named the Do Good House. His unique and efficient architectural creation earned him the Taiwan Green Building Design Award in 2011.

“The construction method and techniques originated from an American architect, Nadar Khalili. I spent a lot of time adapting it to Taiwan (Formosa)’s climate. For our Do Good House, the earthbags were staggered in an arch shape. The arch is naturally quake-resistant. It requires no air conditioning, yet it is comfortably warm in the winter and cool in the summer.”

“For air conditioning, I designed windows that can be pushed out. All face the southwest. So, in this house, I still adopted the design of low and high openings. Even if we come here three months later, the air will still remain fresh inside the house.” “So, for the outer coating, I chose some special breathable coating materials. I used retro Chiri floor tiles without glaze, which can absorb the water in the air when it’s humid. When the weather is good, the moisture can be let out by opening the window.”

“When I started building the Do Good House, I set a goal of not relying on an urban living style, where we use a lot of electricity to maintain the temperature and our comfort. For the house itself, a lot of recycled materials were used. The soil used to build the main structure were also recycled materials. Since those bricks could serve the same function as the gravel, I got them from the owner for free. Then, I placed them under the foundation, thus giving it excellent drainability. Because there is no need for air conditioning or light during the day. So, the electricity bill is NT$42 (US$1.46) per month.”
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