Warm Nest Project of Zoige

Location:  Xiare’er Village, Zoige County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

Owner/investor: Zoige County Education Bureau

Architects: Qianfang

Design parameters: Comfort

  • Sunlight: All main functional rooms can completely meet the full-day sunshine requirements. The main functional rooms have a good view, and the outdoor landscape can be viewed directly without deformation through the whole area of the external windows.
  • Thermal comfort: The main technical goal of the design is to achieve “introduction and storage” of solar energy. Combined with the facade and structure of the building, the solar energy utilization mode of direct benefit window + heat collection and storage wall is adopted to provide solar heating for dormitories, and the direct benefit window adopts the day-night variable thermal performance technology.
  • Ventilation: The main functional spaces are designed with sufficient natural lighting and ventilation. The air on the plateau is dry and the enthalpy is low, so a passive adaptive mode is adopted in the design.
  • Overall comfort: The Project was completed and put into use in December 2015. Under severe cold conditions (high altitude), the lowest indoor temperature in winter is above 12°C. Special three-dimensional dry toilets are designed to ensure sanitary use in the coldest month of winter when there is no water.

Design parameters: Energy

  • Energy efficiency parameters: Energy conservation meets the current national standards, adopting passive solar heating, with zero heating energy consumption; Natural ventilation and cooling technology is used. Comprehensive renewable energy utilization design is carried out through measures such as optimizing the spatial layout and orientation of the building and specially designing the cold bridge of the outer envelope structure. After the completion test, the building energy consumption is 1.76 kWh/a, which is 20% lower than the guiding value.
  • Use of renewable energy: With an altitude of about 3,500 m, an annual average temperature of 1.1°C, a minimum temperature of below -20°C, and strong sunshine. The combination of direct benefit + heat collection and storage wall + glass window cavity is adopted for heat collection. The exterior building envelope is of heavy sandwich wall, filled with 80mm thick foamed polyurethane insulation layer and waterproof airtight layer.
  • Overall energy: As the Project adopts the brick-concrete structure, the main materials for construction are local shale solid bricks, and a small amount of other recyclable materials such as steel, glass, aluminum alloy and foamed polyurethane come from Chengdu.

Design parameters: Environment

  • Circular APPROCH to LCA (Life Cycle Analysis): Since passive solar heating is adopted for the building, energy consumption will only occur during night lighting in the full life cycle; The main building materials are locally produced blocks, and a small number of recyclable materials such as steel, glass and aluminum are used; The annual water-saving rate is more than 80%.
  • Assessment of materials used: Combined with the requirements of solar energy storage, the building walls are made of locally produced shale solid bricks (heavy materials) and are of brick-concrete structure. A small amount of steel, glass, aluminum and other building materials are transported from Chengdu to the local area. All materials used are durable and easy to maintain, and the project cost is only USD 375 per square meter.
  • Overall environment: Zoige area is in the environmentally sensitive area of Sanjiang water source, lacking fossil fuel and reliable electric energy. However, Zoige area, with good solar radiation in winter and no cooling measures required in summer, is a suitable area for the utilization of solar energy. The Project adopts the comprehensive passive solar heating technology and relevant suitable means to minimize the use of local resources and achieve the goal of zero carbon emission of heating.


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