What Are Self Sustaining Homes and 3 Wonderful Examples
Self sustaining homes – sometimes known as autonomous homes – are all the rage nowadays. And who wouldn’t like to live the homestead lifestyle in a quaint, green dwelling? Such homes count on their own services to provide the homeowner with electricity, heating, cooling, and more. However, each self sustaining home can be configured in its own unique way, depending on its location, climate, and the needs of the homeowner. Today we’ll look at some of the things that make a home self-sufficient, and we’ll give you some awesome inspirations, as well!
What Makes a House Self-Sustaining?
Autonomous houses employ several types of systems. Their configuration often depends on the site the house is being built on. To better understand the special features of self sustaining homes, follow us through some of the most outstanding aspects.
Heating & Cooling
The heating and cooling system in an autonomous home doesn’t have to involve just one source. Many homesteading house use a combination of several different systems. For example, in addition to geothermal heating and cooling, a self-sufficient home could also use:
- Solar heating. More and more popular around the world, solar power has become a crucial alternative source of energy. All you need to heat your home through solar power is solar panels on the roof, storage batteries, and open access to the sun’s rays. This method is usually combined with other heating solutions, including windows positioned so as to catch the sunlight during the cooler months.
- Insulating. Heavy insulation can be quite useful in an autonomous home. Combined with an airtight surrounding that blocks the transfer of air between the interior and outside, insulation can lead to a more comfortable temperature all year round.
- Passive heating and cooling. In addition to strategically positioned windows and sturdy insulation, passive heating also relies on a combination of the sunlight and body heat. Several awnings help reflect the sunlight away from the home in warmer months, while a proper site positioning ensures the house stay bright and breezy.
While some self sustaining homes use electricity to generate light, others employ passive lighting. What does passive lighting mean? It means designing the home in such a way that well-placed windows will catch as much daylight as possible. Therefore, your home receives light during daytime hours without the need of additional energy. Other lighting systems include solar-powered LED lights, hydro LED lights or wind-powered LED lights.
Many autonomous homes use photovoltaic energy production, and not just for the heating system. Combined with wind geothermal systems, turbines, or hydro turbines (which produce energy from falling water), some self sustaining homes can actually feed energy back onto the grid. How awesome it is to take care of your needs and being able to help the community as well?
Plenty of homes designed to be self-sufficient also build their own hydroponic gardens. But there are other self-sustaining methods to help water the lawn and take care of water for toilet flushing. The ideal solution for drinking and bathing water is to dig a well onsite. However, if that’s not possible, collecting, storing, and reusing water is a great way to supplement your water needs for all non-potable uses.
More Attributes of Self Sustaining Homes
These types of homes require more planning, in addition to using these alternative systems. For example, the site location is crucial. In fact, it’s almost as important as what systems you use inside. Self-sufficient homes thrive in climate where they can efficiently use solar power. At the same time, homes that use wind power also need to take into consideration the climate surrounding the site.
Another important attribute is how the autonomous house uses the Earth. Passive autonomous homes, in particular, focus on using the organic temperature regulation occurring beneath the Earth’s surface. That’s why some designs involve sunk or partially sunk homes. This eliminates the need for energy to heat or cool the house, while also maintaining a consistent temperature.
Examples of Self-Sufficient Houses
Designed by Michael Reynolds in the 70s, the Earthship is a marvelous concept multiplied around the nation. According to the designer, the main objectives were to rely on organic energy sources, take advantage of sustainable engineering, and keep it simple enough so anyone could build it. The Earthship homes catch maximum sunlight and heat and are feature thick walls for regulating the temperature inside of the house. Earthships hold the site under consideration, too, and usually pair with greenhouses for sustainable food farming. You can even have fish and chickens on your land!
Floatwing is an innovative design which allows homeowners to enjoy a splendid off-grid escape. If living on an island appeals to you, that maybe Floatwing could be your next (floating) home. It can move at a speed of 3 kt (3.5 mph / 5.6 km/h) thanks to the two outboard motors. Because of the fantastic modular design, you can easily store it and ship it anywhere around the world.
Created by Friday, a creative Portuguese engineering company, this incredible self-sustaining home uses eco-friendly materials and takes advantage of green energy to attain maximum energy efficiency. Thanks to its objectives, the Floatwing uses renewable sources (mostly solar power) to cover about 80 percent of its energy requirements. As a result, it has an exceptionally low carbon footprint. It can even produce up to 100 percent of its annual energy needs in only six months. When fully charged, the watercraft home relies solely on itself for about seven days, providing everything you need, including the energy to power the onboard appliances.
3. HOUS.E +
HOUS.E+ is one of the most recent autonomous home designs. Built for the 100 Mile House design competition, it impressed the jury with its walls built of compacted earth. It also feeds from a hydro turbine system, transforming falling water into energy. The rooms are constructed underground, ensuring a consistent temperature. For electricity needs, this amazing self-sustaining home uses a rooftop photovoltaic system.
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