Energy efficiency, prefabricated construction, sustainable architecture and passive design are all trends that we touch on regularly at Gizmag. Rarely, though, have we seen them squeezed together with such high concentration as in Dom Arquitectura's Wood Studio House.

The 76 sq m (818 sq ft) house is built on a hillside in Sant Cugat, Spain. Despite its relatively small size, it packs in a lot of intelligent design. To begin with, the house is oriented so as to make the most of the site and the local climate. It has photovoltaic panels on the roof to reduce its reliance on the grid for electricity.

The south-facing front of the rectangular building is one of its longer sides and has the biggest openings, allowing it to capture plenty of the sun's heat during winter. Strategically-placed shading, however, protects the inside of the house from direct exposure to sunlight in the summer, and low thermal transmittance glazing also helps to minimize heat-gain when needed.

There are few openings on the northern side of the building and Dom Arquitectura explains that the temperature and pressure differences between the south and north elevations help to produce natural cross ventilation. Ventilation is also facilitated by the house being raised up on concrete pilotis and steel beams, allowing air to flow through its lower section.

As well as helping with ventilation, this provides space underneath the building for water storage. There are seven water tanks installed underneath the house and these can hold up to 10 cu m (353 cu ft) of water in total. The water is collected from the roof and exterior paths for use in lawn and garden irrigation, including a kitchen garden attached to the house. There is also a beehive in the grounds for the production of honey.

Much of the house's structure was built using prefabricated timber sections. Interior finishes are made from three-layered plywood and pine, while the outside of the building was finished in autoclaved-treated fir wood. All of the timber used was sourced from the Catalan Pyrenees and is stamped with sustainable forest management accreditation.

The use of timber for the construction of the house helps with insulation, as it has low thermal conductivity. In addition, natural biodegradable wood fiber insulation is used around the whole building. An additional, breathable layer is also employed, which helps to minimize internal condensation.

Other materials used to build the house were also sourced locally, helping to minimize transportation costs and ensure that the low carbon emission materials will be more reusable in the future.

The Wood Studio House was built earlier this year. The video below is a timelapse of its construction.

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