What does a 21st century home look like? We recently gave a rundown of some of the features we can expect in the next wave of amazing, green houses (in 21 Ways To Build A 21st Century Home). But since we’re already in the 21st Century, you’d expect to see some of these innovations put into practice already. And you’d be right. Here are 15 amazing futuristic innovations that you can see at work right now:
Modular Manufacture. Prefab houses come in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes – but let’s get rid of one preconception. Cramped? Tell that to someone living in a Dwell home.
Green Building Materials. And to think we used the phrase “house of straw” to mean impermanent. I can’t see this strawbale-packed house from Earthflow Design Works (complete with pervious concrete driveway) going anywhere in a hurry.
Keeping It Together. We’ve featured them before, but the Loq-Kit house never gets old.
Living Walls… or even better, a living roof, as with Tom Ground’s Gimingham Eco House by Quadlock building solutions. But why stop with grass? Why not grow trees on the outside of your house?
Sonic Cloaking. Not yet! The sonic cloak is still in development, and it’ll be years before we see (or hear) it manifesting in our homes. But for now, think on this: noise is vibration, and noise is transmitted into the home via vibrations in windows – so if they’re vibrating already (powered sustainably, of course), that would make them soundproof. Clever!
“Traditional” Alternative Energy. Solar panels are currently a fairly obtrusive design feature – but with technological breakthroughs (such as this one) solar panels will disappear into designs, leaving them as clean-looking as this eco-house proposed for the outskirts of Nicosia, Cyprus. Even though it’s solar powered – nary a panel in sight.
Recycled Water. In the Florence Lofts, Sebastopol (California), all gray water from washing, bathing and laundry is fed into landscape irrigation, helped along with freshly-scrubbed rain water. Read the full story at Inhabitat.
Ground Heat. A good example is the Orchid House in Britain’s Cotswolds region – some of this unique looking eco-house’s power supply is geothermal energy. Price? $6,000 per square foot. Ouch.
Passive Heating. These passive houses from Swedish architects Kjellgren Kaminsky rely on top-quality insulation to keep heating energy requirements down to a minimum. The tree erupting from the central atrium is a nice touch. (via cubeme).
Electronic Regulation. Looking like it’s about to lurch into the sky, the Zero House is a model of tailored energy efficiency – all run through a fully customized “house brain” computer-system.
Electrical Lights. With the advent of LED lighting, we’re rediscovering color again. Take the roof of the Evergreen State College, using the Color Kinetics lighting system. Not only is it the green way forward (LEDs are now more efficient than CFLs), it’s the fun way forward.
Natural Light. Sunpipes are cropping up everywhere, and no wonder – they’re a brilliant idea (excuse the pun). But they’re just the start. For example, look at what Parans is doing with fiberoptics, feeding natural light all around the home (see more over at Treehugger).
Rain Harvesting. A rainwater-collection system is compulsory in the next generation of eco-housing – but it’s far from a new idea. As greenUPGRADER notes, Japanese rain chains are a traditional and stylish way of diverting rainwater down the side of the house and into a collection tank.
Ventilation. How do you keep your eco-house cool and aerated? Along with advances in electronically controlled temperature and airflow, why not get higher into the breeze? You’re looking at Joel L. Sherman’s Steel Tree House – one of many treehouses featured in a series of posts over at Inhabitat.