In a world of soaring energy bills, it’s great to know that scientists are finding future ways for us to dodge the utility provider’s monthly reminder letter.
Teams across the world are busy creating prototypes for low and even zero energy homes which will herald a new era for the way we live. To first inspection, many of these designs look reassuringly familiar – brick structures, gardens, pattern imprinted concrete driveways in the front yard, patios in the back etc – but others look decidedly futuristic and bizarre. However, the lure of an eco solution to wasted and expensive energy is an attractive one indeed!
In Vision Zero has been developed by Dow Chemical. It looks like a regular home, with a green lawn, large windows and a reassuringly familiar pattern imprinted concrete driveway, but it is a net-zero energy home, using geothermal heating technology and cooling, solar energy, LED lights and lamps.
The Green Tomorrow House by Samsung is a futuristic low-build no carbon house which generates energy without using any electricity or gas, with technologies such as landscaping and bio amalgamates, eco-friendly fishing materials and clever insulation.
The Solar Decathlon Sustainable House looks more like a log cabin, but with a very youthful feel and integrated in and outdoor living approach. It uses rainwater recycling, thermal systems and even has a green grass couch outside!
The Icynene Integral to Connecticut’s First Net Zero Energy Home has been certified to the highest energy rating available, and uses no fossil fuels or electricity.
Villa Akarp looks decidedly Scandinavian, and indeed is the brainchild of a Swedish Inventor – Karin Adalberth. This house actually provides a positive net energy which can be sold back to the grid, and heavily combines technologies to recover, conserve and generate energy.
Designed by Michelle Kaufmann, the Zero Energy Prefab looks incredibly modern and cutting edge, and includes photovoltaic panels to gather solar power, and also make use of gray and rainwater collection. The house is so light on the grid that the meter actually spins backwards during light energy demand periods!
The Truro Net-Zero Energy Beach Home is a wonderfully futuristic, grand large home, custom designed by Boston based firm ZeroEnergy design with eight bathrooms and seven bedrooms! It uses a battery back-up and light consultant for maximum efficiency. No fossil fuels are used, and energy is automatically shut down in unoccupied areas of the house.
Microsoft are also in on the act with their New American Home – an incredible looking structure which is entirely solar powered and filled with gadgets and technology.
The Lumenhaus by Virginia Tech has a decidedly space-age appearance and uses solar energy, radiant heating and passive energy systems, along with an advanced shading system.
All of these developements are obviously costly ones, but they are undoubtably paving the way for a new way to power our homes. Have your own thougths? Let us know!