An Eco House That Floats (Our Boat)

Sanitov Studio’s Inachus sustainable floating home sets the standard for the 21st-century houseboat.

Contemporary design, technology and eco-consciousness have never been closely associated with houseboats. Or luxury, indeed. More like canals with murky water and damp, cramped interiors – although admittedly, living on water has become trendier in recent years.

The Inachus arrives like a ship from another planet: a sleek, intelligent vessel which has every possible feature to minimize its impact on the environment. Created by London-based Sanitov Studio, it was launched at the UK capital’s Design Festival earlier this month. Over the summer, the boat formed part of the Danish Olympic pavilion on the Thames; Sanitov says it was influenced by Danish design. They see it as part of a future floating community – a fleet of super-smart ships.

Named after the Greek river god, Inachus is a two-storey houseboat with designer furnishings, a living wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, a rooftop deck with hot-tub, and an intelligent lighting system controlled by smartphone or tablet. Daylight is also used to maximum effect thanks to skylights in the roof.

Its eco-credentials are as gold-plated as its potential occupants. According to Sanitov, Inachus is one of less than 50 homes in the UK with an Energy Level 5 status (meaning it is 100% energy-efficient). The floating structure comes highly insulated with triple-glazed windows and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, and shading by horizontal louvres; photovoltaic panels produce off-grid energy – in other words, it is self-sustaining, heating and cooling, with zero emissions. The boat’s environmental credibility extends back to the building process: sustainable and recyclable materials were used, such as fast-growing bamboo, reused industrial wood and recyclable concrete.

Unfortunately for us mere mortals, such luxurious, light-footprint living comes at a very high price: Inachus costs from $1.2 million (though your electricity bills should be non-existent). This prototype is moored at Wandsworth Dock in London, if you want to sneak a peek at how the other half might one day live on water.

Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.