A fascinating article here at Physorg on American versions of German “passive houses” – houses that maintain a comfortable temperature in cold climates without the need for active heating systems:
Because there is no furnace, the rooms are quiet. The only sound in the kitchen is the hum of a refrigerator, which along with other appliances, helps supply heat to the airtight 2,300-square-foot Batavia, Ill., home.
Katrin Klingenberg, founder of the institute in Urbana, Ill., said that typically, passive-house owners use 10 percent of the energy used in a standard home.
More info on passive housing can be found here.
[image from popaver on flickr]
More fantastic innovation from those amazing Danes – this time Danish art collective N55 have, with the help of MIT, created a walking house, from The Telegraph:
The prototype cost £30,000 to build, including materials and time, but the designers believe it could be constructed for a lot less.
The artists in the N55 collective are Ion Sørvin, and Øivind Slaatto. Sam Kronick, from MIT designed the legs.
Mr Slaatto plans to live in the house when it returns to Copenhagen. He has been working on his pet project for two years and was inspired by his meetings with Romani travellers in Cambridgeshire.
He said: “This house is not just for travellers but also for anyone interested in a more general way of nomadic living.
Each leg is powered and works independently and is designed to always have three on the ground at any one time to ensure stability.
For an historical perspective: this project has strong overtones of the SFnal Archigram design movement of the 1960s.
[image and news from Slashdot]
With floods again occupying many of us here in the UK, those living on the floodplain are searching increasingly for an insurance policy that will cover them for any water-related inundation. Recently the chief executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership said of the river:
“There will be at some stage a massive catastrophic event that will finally goad us into doing something.” His advice? “Everybody should get a boat.”
However, other less sensationalist solutions are being thought about if our country is starting to go through a wet patch. Many of these solutions originate in Holland, two thirds of which is below sea level. Architect Koen Olthuis’s houses that float on hollow concrete bases that move up and down with the water level are an innovative way to have a normal home-like existence whilst working with the water instead of trying to stop it. There are two good interviews with the architect at Inhabitat and Washington Technology.
Also in the guardian today – architects are designing a city in the United Arab Emirates that is 99% waste efficient and uses 100% renewable power, in a quest to create a completely sustainable city.
[story and image via the Guardian]
This funky partly-submerged oddity is a design for a floating house, with five stories and enough room for six people. Featuring a bathroom and guest room slightly underwater and a lower level observation room for looking into the ocean depths, this would be a room fitting of many a sf or Bond villain! It even includes an electrical generator and enough storage for weeks of food and water. The entire structure is plastic, fibreglass and acrylic but will cost potential buyers a cool $2.5 Millon, which isn’t actually that much compared to a lot of mansions these days.
[via Neatorama, photo by sub-find]