Παρασκευή, 22 Απριλίου 2011

10 fascinatingly sustainable housing solutions


House is that special kind of private spatial element that we can all identify with at the micro level. One of the oldest forms of human shelter, the multitude and myriad of housing forms starting from the igloos, thatched roofed huts to faux chateaus and pre-fabricated homes, gives us a clear idea about humanity’s obsession with housing. And why not? It is among the very few places where one experiences the transient tranquility of physical safety as well as psychological retirement.
One the other hand, housing does form an important element of our overall economy. And as with other construction industries, housing construction can emanate substantial levels of carbon emissions (30 percent of the total carbon emissions in the UK, for example). Even the United States housing bubble made an unprecedented loss of $400 billion by 2009. And this is exactly where low cost, ‘green’ housing solutions come into the picture, as sustainable saviors of our very future.
1. Gorgeous EDGE house concept incorporates sustainability in every inch:
Small is beautiful, and that is exactly what this petite shaped, 320sq ft EDGE (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment) modular housing concept designed by Revelations Architects, proves. Located in Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin, the house is constructed from locally available timber. But the definitive characteristic would be the incorporation of a plethora of sustainable features including rainwater collection, geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat recovery, passive solar windows, and insulated exterior shutter doors that minimize nighttime heat loss.
2. ILEK unveils self-sustaining house that can also charge your EV:
Truly a conception with a holistic sustainable approach, this is a innovative housing concept designed by ILEK (Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design) at University of Stuttgart. Named as the Plus-Energy House with Electromobility, the house can generate its own electricity by integrating various ‘green’ technologies. The rooftop will be adroitly draped by an array of photovoltaic cells, whereas the interior will have solar thermal generators and an ‘intelligent’ facade with interactive display. Moreover, the house will also incorporate features that can charge your EV, and supply the extra power back into the grid.
3. Mod.Fab - Sustainable prefab home for off-grid desert living:
Modernistic in its form and eco friendly in its bearing, this is the utterly sustainable Mod.Fab house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. This is actually a single bedroom prefab house with green features conducive to unforgiving desert conditions. For example, exclusive attributes like rain water harvesting, water recycling and even natural ventilation are implemented, especially in relation to the desert surrounding. And, with a rather contemporary touch, the house can also run on an alternative power source of solar arrays.
4. Houl - A ‘Zero Carbon’ House designed by Simon Winstanley Architects:
Located in the beautiful town of Castle Douglas in Scotland, every component of this ingeniously conceived house - from orientation, slope right up to the building materials have been carefully considered and selected for the optimum comfort of the occupants. The architects (Simon Winstanley) already describe this as a ‘zero carbon’ house, as the structure utilizes high levels of insulation, natural ventilation system and even clean electricity generation by wind turbines. So, at the end of the day, this design will nullify the amount of carbon that was expended in its construction by transferring zero carbon energy back into the national grid.
5. Solar Energy House relies entirely on natural resources:
As the name vehemently suggests, this uniquely designed triangular housing concept by Raif Kurt will epitomize the progression of solar technology. Looking like a futuristic Mayan pyramid (and perhaps even alluding to one with its sun energy features), the modular housing concept will be constructed of pre-fabricated steel, and will incorporate an array of solar panels that can convert solar energy into electricity. Moreover, the energy generated from these panels would be regulated for optimum power consumption.
6. Orbiting Eco House designed by Michael Jantzen harvests rainwater and renewable energy:
This is perhaps one of those futuristic designs that scores highly on every element of sustainable architectural features. Starting from the orientation, the house will supposedly rotate along its core axis for optimum sunlight and wind. The conspicuous funnel on the top center will be used for rainwater harvesting. At the center of the rain water collection ring, there will be a large vertical axis wind turbine. And if that was not enough, a series of photovoltaic solar cells and a solar domestic water heating panel will be incorporated around the wind turbine.
7. KH Home’s solar-powered house unveiled with a pollution reducing roof:
At the first instance, this design may seem like an ordinary, comfortable Ranch-style type of housing. But this advanced prototype of a house by KH Home certainly packs in more than what meets the eye. The sloping roof is integrated with an array of solar panels with a system of batteries for power storage. But the convincingly unique feature of this house is its roof tiles, which according to the firm are ingrained with an embedded catalyst, which speeds up oxidation when exposed to sunlight, and reduces the nitrogen oxide pollution that creates smog.
8. Zero Energy Home in Kuala Lumpur:
An all important part of the mega Bird Island project in Kuala Lumpur conceived by Graft Lab architects for the YTL Green Home Competition, these zero-energy dwellings will be comprised of organic lightweight bamboo frameworks. Sustainable silicone glass fabric will be draped over these frameworks for flexibility of structure and passive cooling. As a matter of fact, the suppleness of the environment friendly fabric will allow the houses to sway with the breeze just like a treetop. Moreover, grey water recycling systems would be incorporated within the design.
9. Kokopo House – A luxurious off-grid dwelling for eco-friends:
Though cost effectiveness should be a part and parcel of green living, here is a luxurious green house with some clearly ostentatious touches. Supposedly designed for a shipping magnate by Enter Architecture, this organically shaped ‘naturalistic’ house is completely off-grid. It uses sustainable sources for a plethora of functions including water heating, temperature regulation and even lighting.
10. Candy-textured ‘Egg’ houses made of 90 percent recyclable materials:
We had enough of those state-of-the-art, avant-garde housing concepts, and so let us sign off with this heartfelt yet convenient design. Contrived by Roberto Casati and a group of Tuscan engineers, and named as the ‘KasaUovo‘ or Egg House, these 70sqm ‘mini homes’ will be constructed from unique composite materials that make use of wood wastes and discarded car tires. But don’t be taken in by the design’s juvenile simplicity, the vibrant color scheme or even the ‘egg shape’. The shape is intentional as it contributes to energy efficiency. Moreover, Egg Houses will use a combination of wind turbines and solar photovoltaics to be 70 percent more efficient in their energy usage than conventionally constructed dwellings. Last but not the least, they will be earthquake resistant, and will be composed of an inner energy-saving insulation barrier membrane for its two stories.


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