Healthy Homes

Modern homes to live off the land

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 16:16

There are many different types of modern homes designed nowadays to promote energy efficient heating and sustainability. Radiant heating is only the beginning when it comes to methods for reducing your carbon footprint in the world, and some architects even have plans to go further. In a time when houses can be built off-location and assembled in a day, certain measures can be taken to reduce your reliance on the outside world while also becoming more independent of commercial resources and utilities.

According to the National Building Museum, there are five pillars to a sustainable design when building or renovating a house. They include:

  • Indoor air quality
  • Utilizing the sun
  • Responsible use of the land
  • Smart use of natural resources
  • Building houses that have increased performance and resistance to moisture

The MiniHome Solo 40

Altius Rapid Systems Architecture are the creators of the MiniHome line and their newest design is the Solo 40, a building capable of many uses. It can be assembled anywhere from a crowded neighborhood to the great outdoors, and serve as a permanent home, vacation cabin or even an office, as reported by Jetson Green. The building can be easily connected to existing sewer, water and power lines making construction much easier. This model is not entirely self-sufficient, but upgrades can be made through Altius to make it solar-powered, for example. It's very spacious and personalized with options for adding more rooms or keeping the floor more open.

It does have dynamic and static means that make it a very environmentally friendly home with little effects on the world around it. No energy is casually wasted with features like incorporated ventilation powered by the wind and a xeriscape green-roof network. The natural air flow keeps the house cool without the need for air conditioning and the green roof is made up of plants that help with insulation, rainwater management, and cooling, while also minimizing the loss of vegetation taken up by the building's structure.
Sustainability of the future

While modern designs have made giant leaps in the fields of conservation and sustainability, there is still much that can be done. All around the world people are letting their imaginations run wild with possibilities of the practical and effective in an effort to bring eco-friendly living into the foray.

A Danish student of architecture named Konrad Wójcik has come up with a design for people to live in the forested areas outside of cities with absolutely no need for anything but the house itself, as shown by Jetson Green. The proposed design resembles the shape of a pine tree, with most of its structure expanding vertically and relying on a single beam running through the center of the house and into the ground as its sole form of support.
One of the outer walls would be covered entirely by solar panels while the others will have big windows to optimize natural lighting and provide ventilation of fresh air to cycle up through the building's interior. Heat pumps at the base will take energy from the ground and bio-digesters will convert waste. These "treehouses" will aid the environment by keeping the air and dirt around it clean as well as providing shade for the animals and flora in its vicinity. Because the design doesn't rely on anything, they would be able to be built anywhere. Made mostly of wood, the house and its furnishing are completely recyclable, adding to its green theme. 
As the demand for more efficient and eco-friendly homes grow, so will the innovations. This focus on environment showing in modern design has the potential to lead to buildings that leave no negative impact on the world and only a positive impact on our lives.