The net Zero Energy Housing Midtown Tower is a research project that examines affordable, net-zero housing typologies and proposes new compact housing layouts.
The proposal explored with 16 floors of affordable precast units, utilizing performance as a design aesthetic. Through the use of the EPC calculator, the goal of achieving net-zero was pursued. Central to this process was the desire to keep the building only 1 unit wide. This would allow the multilevel units to have views both to the skyline and the surrounding neighborhoods of Mid-town Atlanta. It quickly became apparent that the building required extensive shading elements. To this end, the tower uses several architectural features for the dual purpose of shading. The 12-foot walkways on the Southeastern side provide shading while long vertical fins emphasize verticality on the western facade and provide shading on the northwest facade.
Key to the building hitting its net-zero targets are the solar panels, which fully integrate into the design of the building. Solar panels help form the guardrails of the walkways and act as the shading canopy for the rooftop gymnasium. While this provides a large portion of the daytime power, a natural gas generator provides power on-site, as well. The huge amount of waste heat from the gas generator is used to heat water for both domestic use as well as heating. Water and air-based systems have been used where hot and cold water has been piped to a fan coil unit in each living unit. The system goes through the elevator/stair cores at the ends and over to the units.