Prefabricated homes are becoming more mainstream, with more and more models finding a better balance between quality, price and features. Over in Melbourne, Australia, prefab company ArchiBlox has unveiled what they are calling the world's first prefab home that will produce more energy than it uses during its lifetime.
Measuring 53 square metres (570 square feet), the Carbon Positive House has been designed to exceed carbon-zero expectations to deliver additional "positive contributions" to the environment -- the equivalent of planting 6,095 trees -- hence its curious name (what seems like an opposite to carbon negative, is not -- the term "carbon positive" is used in Australia to describe projects that feed energy back into the grid).
ArchiBlox's Carbon Positive House is designed to "[address] the increasing levels of carbon emissions and the high levels of embodied energy that come with the construction of a standard home." A life cycle assessment was carried out for the prototype, and according to the designers, the Carbon Positive House results in a total design savings of -659 kgCO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) -- a relative saving of 116 percent per year, per occupant -- compared to conventional benchmarks.
It is designed to face north to maximize sun exposure during the day to reduce heating and cooling costs (remember, in the southern hemisphere, the best solar orientation would be north, not south as it is here in the northern hemisphere), using a generous sunroom as a buffer between the outdoors and indoors.
Calling the sunroom the "lungs of the house," it is meant to also shade the rest of the living spaces from the harsh sunlight that Australia is known for. In addition, there are planters on one wall of the sunroom for inhabitants to grow veggies and herbs. There are sun-shading sliding walls that can be moved to block the intrusion of a hot sun.
Though we don't see it here in the demonstration model, this one-storey house is meant to be earth-bermed at the back, to help provide better insulation and interior temperature regulation. There's a green roof too, and the possibility of installing solar panels, to increase the home's energy performance; plus a rainwater harvesting system.
Cross-ventilation is provided via in-ground cooling tubes that bring in colder air from the south side of the house and pulled through the north-facing windows near the ceiling, and out into the sunroom.
It's a home that makes the very most of what may seem like a small footprint, with spaces that feel open, fresh and light-filled, demonstrating the best and latest in prefab design down under. More over at ArchiBlox.