Off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes finally make their international debut

February 8, 2018 by  
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We’ve been following the the solar- and wind-powered Ecocapsule microhome since it first burst onto the design scene. Now, nearly 10 years after the visionary concept was born, its Bratislava-based designers are finally making their international debut with an exclusive release of 50 off-grid dwellings that can be installed pretty much anywhere. Although this round of smart, self-sufficient tiny dwellings will only be available to customers living in the United States, Japan, Australia and EU, the second mass-produced series could be available as soon as the end of 2018. Despite its futuristic design, the Ecocapsule encapsulates a great deal of what makes a building truly sustainable . Albeit made of fiberglass and steel, neither of which are renewable like bamboo or hemp, it deserves major kudos for its ability to generate its own energy with included solar panels and a wind turbine, and collect and filter its own water–all in a compact module with a negligible footprint. It is 15.32-feet-long, 7.22-feet-wide, and 14.76-feet-tall (wind turbine included). Ecocapsule’s Matej Gyárfáš said the wind turbine produces 750W of clean energy, while the embedded solar panels produce 880W at peak. The energy is stored in a battery with a capacity of 9kWh, though the whole microhome can be plugged into an external outlet if additional electricity is necessary. With its two water tanks at full capacity, the unit weighs 3,638 pounds. Made to sleep up to two people, the Ecocapsule can be transported in a shipping container , by passenger car with a trailer hitch, or by helicopter, which is how the first completed unit was carried to the roof of Bratislava’s UNIQ building (see attached picture in the gallery) on January 31, 2018. It has a clean, open interior design with plenty of natural light, and its spheroid shape promotes water collection while also ensuring optimal energy retention. Related: Solar-powered Ecocapsule lets you live off the grid anywhere in the world Gyárfáš said the design was originally intended as a “frontier dwelling, a housing unit for people who need to stay in nature for a longer time – e.g. scientists, photographers, rangers or extreme tourists.” But the design’s easy mobility, containerization and long-term energy independence expanded its potential, he said. He says it can be quickly shipped in “ rapid response situations where infrastructure is damaged” and even function as a “small power plant and water filtration unit.” The Ecocapsule can be installed on rooftops or vacant urban spaces, out in the middle of nature, or even in vineyards. According to the company, it is “a multipurpose unit, which can be used as a house, caravan, houseboat , hotel, or a research station.” Each of the first 50 pieces cost $89,000, according to Gyárfáš. Prices for the next iteration will be lower, but that number has not been revealed. All images via Ecocapsule

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Off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes finally make their international debut

A striking sawtooth roof tops this net-zero lake house in Canada

February 8, 2018 by  
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Architects Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster have created a gorgeous lakeside home that actually generates as much energy as it uses . Located on the banks of Canada’s Stoney Lake, the net-zero Sky House is marked by a zigzagging roof that runs the length of the home. The 3,100 square-foot home consists of two separate structures stacked on top of one another. The upper elongated structure is clad in petrified wood panels and topped with a zigzagging roof . The lower level features a cube-like mini room that’s tucked into the landscape and virtually invisible. The home’s unique layout creates an empty space between the living areas and the sloping landscape. The unusual design provides easy access to various rooms as well as a calm, serene space to read surrounded by nature. Related: Zigzagging Het Anker community center in the Netherlands is partially buried underground The home’s interior is all-white and contemporary, and the living areas are located on the top level. Glazed walls run the length of the home, providing lots of natural light as well as stunning views of the surroundings. The bedrooms are located on the lower level, whose square rooftop pulls double duty as a terrace for the living spaces above. The Sky House is also a sustainable powerhouse packed with energy-efficient features. Solar panels generate 100 percent of the home’s energy needs, while factory-inspired skylights facing north provide natural light and mitigate heat gain in the summer months. The building materials were chosen for their low-maintenance and long-lasting qualities . The house is made of heat-treated wood cladding, and it features a reflective standing seam metal roof. The spacious interior features walls made from formaldehyde-free plywood. + Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster Photography by Doublespace Photography

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A striking sawtooth roof tops this net-zero lake house in Canada

Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

July 17, 2017 by  
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The world watched in anticipation as the groundbreaking Solar Impulse 2 plane circumnavigated the globe last year. Now, the “Solar Impulse of the Seas” has set sail, aiming to demonstrate in a fresh way that clean energy can power our world. Dubbed Energy Observer , the solar- , wind- , and hydrogen -powered catamaran will sail to 50 countries over the course of six years. Solar panels line the top of the Energy Observer, and two vertical axis wind turbines harness the power of the wind, but those aren’t the only energy sources that make this vessel self-sufficient . The boat is able to generate hydrogen from seawater thanks to an electrolysis system. That hydrogen, stored in tanks, will help the Energy Observer glide through the waves emissions-free. The project was started by French offshore racer Victorien Erussard, accompanied by French explorer and filmmaker Jérôme Delafosse. Related: Energy Observer to sail around the world using only solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel The Energy Observer is equipped with technologies like electric motors, lithium-ion batteries , and a hydrogen fuel cell . It’s around 100 feet long and 42 feet wide, with solar panels covering 1,400 square feet atop the catamaran. Built in 1983, the Energy Observer has already had a long career as a racing boat, but was recently christened earlier this month by France’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot. Energy Observer left Paris this past weekend with mayor Anne Hidalgo aboard. Erussard said on the boat’s website, “There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change : there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate.” And though the boat draws on different technologies than the Solar Impulse 2, it apparently has the approval of pilot Bertrand Piccard , who was present at the christening ceremony. He said, “Energy Observer, just like Solar Impulse, makes exploration work for a better quality of life. We need to lead people towards the future by showing them solutions instead of depressing them.” You can track where the Energy Observer is here and find out more here . + Energy Observer Via ScienceAlert Images via Energy Observer ( 1 , 2 )

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Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

Geothermal-powered ferry terminal in Stockholm has a public park on its roof

November 7, 2016 by  
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The new terminal references the shapes of moving marine vessels and the surrounding area’s cranes and warehouses . It functions as a natural extension of the urban fabric. It slowly emerges from the ground to allow city inhabitants to use its roof as a public park . Varied green landscapes with stairs, ramps and niches create a beautiful environment where people can stroll and have relaxing moments while enjoying the view of the ferries, the archipelago, and the city skyline. Related: C.F. Møller’s Solar-Powered Wood Skyscraper Wins HSB Stockholm Architecture Competition The building is powered by solar and geothermal energy , distributed through integrated systems. Self-sufficient and aiming for a LEED Gold certification, the new terminal is expected to become both architecturally and environmentally a new landmark for the Norra Djursgårdsstaden development area. + C.F. Møller Photos by Adam Mørk

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Geothermal-powered ferry terminal in Stockholm has a public park on its roof

Solar-Powered Modular Cabin Exists Completely Off-the-Grid in Australia

September 25, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Solar-Powered Modular Cabin Exists Completely Off-the-Grid in Australia Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia , cabin , modscape , modular cabin , modular housing , nectre fireplace , off the grid cabin , off-grid , rainwater tanks , self-sufficient , self-sustaining , single module , solar panels , Solar Power , Tintaldra , victoria , zincalume

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Solar-Powered Modular Cabin Exists Completely Off-the-Grid in Australia

Amazing “Green Machine” Mobile City Concept Transforms Deserts into Lush Oases

July 1, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Amazing “Green Machine” Mobile City Concept Transforms Deserts into Lush Oases Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , desertification , deserts , fossil fuels , mobile city , self-sufficient , solar-powered , stephane malka , the green machine , thought experiment

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Amazing “Green Machine” Mobile City Concept Transforms Deserts into Lush Oases

Thousands Without Water in Detroit a Human Rights Violation, UN Says

July 1, 2014 by  
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Human rights experts from the United Nations have expressed their concern about reports of widespread water disconnections throughout the city of Detroit in households unable to pay water bills. The three experts, who specialise in human rights relating to water and sanitation, adequate housing, and extreme poverty, said that “disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.” Read the rest of Thousands Without Water in Detroit a Human Rights Violation, UN Says Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: City of Detroit , detroit , Michigan , United Nations Human Rights Index , water bills , water disconnections , water shortages

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Thousands Without Water in Detroit a Human Rights Violation, UN Says

Uruguayan Surfer-Girl Builds Charming Off-Grid Accommodation Powered by Nature

March 19, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Uruguayan Surfer-Girl Builds Charming Off-Grid Accommodation Powered by Nature Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , Daylighting , eco-accommodation , eco-travel , green holidays , green materials , off-grid , Punta del Diablo , renewable energy , self-sufficient , Solar Power , solar water heater , Solo Mare del Diablo , Uruguay , Victoria Gonzales , well for drinking water        

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Uruguayan Surfer-Girl Builds Charming Off-Grid Accommodation Powered by Nature

GDS Architects Unveils New Jinshui Science Park Concept with Zero Carbon Footprint

September 2, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of GDS Architects Unveils New Jinshui Science Park Concept with Zero Carbon Footprint Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , china , Eco Architecture , eco design , GDS Architects , green architecture , green design , Jinshui Science and Technology Park , photovoltaic panels , self-sufficient buildings , solar panels , Zero Carbon        

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GDS Architects Unveils New Jinshui Science Park Concept with Zero Carbon Footprint

Refuge du Goûter: Space-Age Self-Sufficient Alpine Lodge is the Highest Building in France

June 7, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Refuge du Goûter: Space-Age Self-Sufficient Alpine Lodge is the Highest Building in France Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , Architecture , green materials , Group-H , Mont Blanc , Refuge du Goûter , renewable energy , self-sufficient , water issues        

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Refuge du Goûter: Space-Age Self-Sufficient Alpine Lodge is the Highest Building in France

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