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While many aspects of sustainability are addressed within our visions of circular and biobased construction, this page outlines our perspective on elements that make a residence appealing for the ‘long term’ during the living phase, simultaneously saving on repairs, maintenance, and energy consumption to keep the total cost of ownership low.


Sustainable living

Sustainable living, during a home’s usage, revolves around the energy the home requires and generates. NIDO influences both aspects from the design phase by strategically considering roof and façade structures, installation values, and the overall installation concept. It’s vital that the building components endure without frequent replacements and require minimal maintenance. This not only enhances sustainability but is also economically prudent.

For a home to grow with its owners in the long run, it’s crucial to design it with maximum flexibility and age-friendliness from the initial planning stages. This not only reduces costs during necessary adaptations but can also increase the (residual) value during resale.

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Efficient energy usage and generation

At NIDO, we focus on maximizing energy efficiency within our installation concepts. This includes designing a well-insulated building envelope, employing energy-efficient heating systems, ventilation with heat recovery, intelligent control mechanisms, all optimized for individual homes and household types.

Integration of renewable energy sources such as solar panels or utilizing outdoor air heat for heat pumps is essential. These practices aim to reduce the building’s energy demand to nearly zero or even generate surplus energy. Our emphasis on breathable, moisture-regulating homes, adequate insulation, avoidance of thermal bridges, ample ventilation, and prevention of overheating contributes to thermal comfort and a healthy indoor environment. Smart controls and thermostats in each zone or room enhance the user experience.

Water management is increasingly significant due to extreme weather conditions. NIDO considers solutions such as water-absorbing sedum roofs and underground rainwater harvesting and reuse systems. Long-term thinking also applies to preventing water leakages by using high-quality pipes and faucets, ensuring durability.

Additionally, the home’s location plays a vital role. Designing a building while considering the sun’s position throughout the year optimizes the placement of living spaces, windows, eaves, and solar panels. Well-designed windows and eaves harness natural light and solar warmth in winter while minimizing overheating in summer. Proper placement of solar panels is illustrated in our Andel project, where they were integrated into a roof plane alongside skylights orientated towords the south.

Build with durable materials

It would be a shame to invest in a specific building or a dream home, only to face high maintenance costs due to frequent necessary replacements. This is why, at NIDO, we carefully consider whether a particular biobased/circular building material truly endures during the user phase. Thankfully, innovations in this realm are advancing rapidly; read more about this in our article on biobased resources and products.

An exemplary biobased product with an exceptionally long lifespan is bamboo. Bamboo inherently boasts high natural durability, resisting fungal decay, insects, and rot. Moreover, the type of bamboo we use undergoes thermal modification, enhancing its suitability for long-term outdoor use.

Thanks to thermal modification, bamboo gains higher dimensional stability, reducing its tendency to shrink, expand, or distort when exposed to moisture and temperature fluctuations—an essential attribute for outdoor applications. Furthermore, it retains its natural appearance and warmth, displaying a beautiful, warm hue that may weather with time. The material doesn’t require painting or staining, significantly reducing maintenance.

Among other products we favor are thermally modified woods. This could include European spruce, such as Finti, which through modification attains the properties and resistance of tropical hardwood without the adverse environmental effects. Additionally, we utilize other thermally modified wood products like Platowood or Accoya, the latter undergoing a modification process based on ‘acetylation’ using acetic acid.

Build for low maintenance

As mentioned earlier, materials like bamboo not only avoid the need for replacement but also eliminate the necessity for staining or painting. This significantly reduces maintenance costs and eases the burden of homeowners in terms of time and effort.

Hence, during the design phase, we prioritize considering potential maintenance for a home or building. A concrete example is a project that required dark exterior frames, aligning with the ethos of using biobased wood in construction.

Given that black window frames, under sunlight, can reach temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Celsius, this significantly impacts the paint layer, necessitating more frequent repainting compared to, say, a white-painted frame. Consequently, a wood-aluminum frame was chosen, featuring a wooden core and an exterior aluminum cover with a powder-coated color. While aluminum isn’t our ideal construction material, this choice offers sustainability in the utilization phase, considerably reducing maintenance costs for residents, making it a preferable option.

Another instance is the use of Tricoya. This engineered wood product has undergone an acetylation process, resulting in a considerably extended lifespan compared to traditional wood. Resistant to moisture, mold, insects, and rot, it’s less susceptible to degradation and decay. Additionally, since moisture penetration causing paint expansion and flaking is minimized, it requires less frequent repainting. In comparison to aluminum, Tricoya stands as a valuable biobased option to circumvent frequent painting needs.

Build flexible and lifetime-compatible

To ensure a home remains suitable in the long term and delivers sustainable living, a flexible layout that can adapt alongside the residents is crucial. At NIDO, we strive to design spaces with flexibility in mind, allowing for adjustments to accommodate changing needs in the future.

It’s beneficial to view rooms more frequently as multifunctional spaces capable of serving as bedrooms, home offices, hobby areas, studios—you name it. In practice, this means these spaces must meet all the requirements outlined by the Building Code for their intended use. Additionally, considering plumbing and potential adaptability during both design and construction is essential. An example of such a multifunctional space is a part of our Symbiose concept.

At NIDO, we often advise incorporating extra water pipes, sewage lines, or even empty conduits or data cables abundantly, anticipating potential future demands. Moreover, flexible flooring systems, as described in our article on acoustics in timber construction, offer the significant advantage of easier installation of new pipes without the need to completely dismantle or excavate the entire floor.

By addressing these aspects during the design phase of a building, alongside flexibility for potential new residents, the design also integrates adaptability for existing occupants, contributing to a more age-inclusive living environment. Ultimately, this translates to increased value for all residents.

Want to learn more about NIDO’s vision?

Vision on circular constructionVision on biobased construction