Eco-houses: life without electricity

Independent house, which benefits the planet and creates all the amenities for human is not a dream but a reality! Today MKmagazine talks about what it is, and shows some remarkable examples, so read with pleasure.

Eco-house is an energy saving, energy efficient or passive dwelling that does not require the consumption of energy or requires it at a minimum level (this also applies to electricity, and heating). It is only 8-10% more expensive than usual, and even easier to build: it is not necessary to make the pipe water heating, store fuel, make boiler, etc. All costs repays fully within 7 years.

Eco-house features
- Compactness, integrity, competent geometry and layout, thoughtful placement relative to the cardinal.
- The most practical and safe materials, natural insulation (100% non-toxic).
- More efficient insulation to avoid thermal bridges in materials and components, as well as to reduce heat loss almost to zero.
- Heating occurs due to heat generation by people, animals and household appliances.
- The system of ventilation with heat exchanger.
- Using of alternative energy sources. For example, heat pumps or solar heaters for hot water supply.
- Organic waste is completely recycled and disposed of immediately on the site.

Examples of eco-houses
CANNON BEACH RESIDENCE in the U.S. (Oregon, Pacific Coast) It produces more energy than it consumes. Made from recycled materials.

How it was achieved:
- Using renewable materials suitable for further processing.
- Applying solar energy for uninterrupted heating and hot water supply (solar thermal tubes, heat pump, etc.).
- The air circulation system allows heating and cooling the air inside the house.
- Creating the lawn (sedum carpet) on the roof – it requires minimal effort to care for, while being beautiful and practical.

Eco-houses are being built in the framework of the national program in the UK called “Affordable Housing”. So far, there were built only 5 of them, but much more is planned. Each such dwelling is minimalistic, stylish and built of economical materials. All sources of energy in the house are renewable.

What was done: - Fence of recycled steel.
- Curved roof with live sedum carpet.
- Heating, electricity and water supply are provided by solar energy. It is collected with special photovoltaic units on the south side of the roof.
- The ventilation system provides a stream of clean air with programmable temperature.
- The water is collected in cisterns during rain, and purified.

GARDEN ARK in London
Compact and mobile residential unit, easily assembled in a few hours. It has everything necessary for permanent residence. The only drawback is the absence of heating (although there can be built electric oven for year-round live).

- Live roof, where any plant can be planted.
- Photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity.
- Collecting rain and cleaning to get water.
- Furnished living spaces and a bathroom.

ISLAND COUNTRY HOUSE in Iceland (100 kilometers from the Arctic Circle)
A unique and eco-friendly house with a “green” roof, enduring even harsh climate.

What the developers have come up with:
- Geothermal sources are involved.
- Equipped with hot and cold water supply.
- Something like a mini-hydropower plant is made.
- Green roof is created to enter the house into the landscape.
- Eco-house is the perfect home: you get comfort and convenience, save on electricity, preserve nature in a safe and lead a really healthy lifestyle. And it is not just an idea or a dream, there are thousands of such houses worldwide. They are not much more expensive than conventional ones and quickly pay off, because they do not need electricity.

Would you like to live in one?

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Alex E

Ecoclimax is defined by Odum (1969) as the culmination state after a succession in a stabilized ecosystem in which maximum biomass (or high information content) and symbiotic function among organisms is kept per unit of available energy flow.