Neolepenism is a new, internationally copyrighted type of energy efficient architecture with roots in the prehistoric culture of Lepenski Vir. The author has previously presented a model of a small family house of neolepenism with a flat roof and wrote about the energy efficiency of the prehistoric architecture of Lepenski Vir, whose positive experiences he improved and optimized. In this way, such a new architecture, especially in combination with solar district heating, could have a positive impact on global warming and climate change as a passive means of protection.
Buildings are the biggest consumers of energy. The architecture of neolepenism could significantly contribute to the reduction of heat losses (in winter) or gains (during the summer season), reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving building materials and thermal insulation, primarily with its compact shape. Energy savings during the exploitation of such buildings, as well as energy savings for the production of applied materials during the construction of new buildings are significant and thus could significantly contribute to decarbonization throughout the life cycle of the building. Decarbonization would be achieved by not emitting greenhouse gas emissions due to reduced energy consumption for heating/cooling and the use of solar energy as a source of thermal energy.
Solar district heating/cooling is the most favorable heat source in terms of decarbonization, although it has its drawbacks. However, it should be used as much as possible. Facilities with low energy consumption and the required low temperature modes have a favorable effect on the operation of the heat source or heating plant in terms of decarbonization because they allow greater use of solar district heating. If the installed capacity of individual facilities with low energy consumption is not large enough for connection, such facilities can be grouped and connected by a secondary heat pipeline from a common heat substation that would have sufficient installed capacity for connection. Such thermal substations can deliver thermal energy for both heating and domestic hot water, and the use of district cooling can be considered. The flat roofs of neolepenism architecture in this case allow the construction of green roofs.
All of the above represents the application of new green technologies whose harmonious application would significantly contribute to solving the problem of decarbonization. Living space design can be one of the strategies for designing low-energy and passive buildings. Urban planning, neolepenism architecture, water surface heating/cooling systems and solar district heating/cooling can represent a harmonious energy chain of energy production and consumption, which could be centrally managed so that the least greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere.
This paper presents the case study of the authors’ design of the earth-sheltered house in Village Dobraca near Kragujevac, Serbia, in the context of development and some thermal properties of the underground housing. The historical insight, in brief, provides a better understanding of the reasons for their modern use as energy efficient and sustainable structures. It shows that underground houses even today are more thermally efficient than above ground houses since, besides earth, there is no need for new additional thermal layers. The article also includes a review of the representative physical forms of the underground housing through different periods, with the result of measurement of their main properties. The study of the underground housing structures provides an insight of the relation between the location and typology of underground homes in a contest of climate zones. These structures have an almost constant temperature, which provides the primary “comfort” condition in which the man is determined to live in. The results on property-based monitoring data showed that the earth-sheltered house could provide the thermal comfort that is close to the ideal human needs temperature. Today, the new materials and especially the solar, geothermal, and wind accessories, enables the maximum sustainability of these specific building structures and provides them with an even better energy efficiency.