zeroHouse Design Gives Off Grid Living A More Friendly Touch

When you hear the word “prefab”, eco probably isn’t the first thing you think of. The architects at Specht Harpman want to change all that, with an innovative design called the zeroHouse–a prefabricated 2-4 person home designed not only green-built and off-the-grid, but to supply its own energy via renewables.

For electricity, the zeroHouse relies on a fleet of solar panels arrayed across it’s “wings” – the two bedrooms that flank the main column of the house. These hook up to a bank of batteries capable of keeping the house juiced for an entire week without sun. For water, the zeroHouse collects the rain, through a series of four 550-gallon rainwater harvesting tanks attached to the gutters of the house. The zeroHouse takes care of its own waste, too, via some sort of mysterious “digester” hidden below, which produces nothing more odious than a load of dried compost that has to be removed–and can, presumably, be worked into a garden bed–twice a year. It’s also a smart home, with temperatures in each room controlled by different sensors that can be customized by the user.


image via Jetson Green

It’s an ambitious design to say the least, and one you might think had gotten no further than a bunch of pretty renderings and a few pages of specs. In reality, the architects at Specht Harpman have invested some serious cash into creating the detailed architectural, structural, and mechanical engineering documents that outline every detail of this great concept and make it feasible to build. Now, according to Jetson Green, they’re looking for investors. All it will take to build the prototype, apparently, is a spare $300,000-$350,000.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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