Australian prefab home generates more energy than it uses

ArchiBlox Designs World’s First Prefabricated Carbon Positive House

MELBOURNE (Australia) — Prefab houses can be quick and affordable to build. Now, a prefab house from Australian architects Archiblox promises the additional benefit of generating more energy than it uses.

Described by ArchiBlox as the world’s first carbon-positive prefabricated house, the Archi+ Carbon Positive House is designed to produce more energy than its uses – over its lifespan it is expected to offer the same environmental benefits as 6,095 native Australian trees.

Modular buildings specialist ArchiBlox has unveiled its prototype for a compact carbon-positive house, featuring “edible garden walls”, a sunroom and an insulating grass roof.

The house has been designed to make use of solar power through a series of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels. Rainwater recycling is also part of the product, helping to reduce water consumption.

 Modular Home Designs have been formulated and designed by using minimal area to maximise space, making for smart, efficient, cost effective design and clever construction. The houses can be designed, built and delivered Australia wide in 12 – 28 weeks.

“Archi+ Carbon Positive Houses will make significant contributions within society by addressing the increasing levels of carbon emissions and the high levels of embodied energy that come with the construction of a standard home,” said the company.

 “These homes will give our clients the opportunity to rid themselves of modern day lifelines in a house that has been developed through a collaboration of design sensitivities and new technologies with like-minded companies,” the architects said.

The single-storey prototype has been installed in Melbourne’s City Square. Behind its glazed facade, a sunroom spans the width of the building, creating a buffer zone between the exterior and the living spaces.

Designed to face north, this room creates a pocket of warm air that will help to insulate the interior during the cold winter months, but will also protect the main living spaces from harsh sunlight in summer. ArchiBlox calls it the “lungs of the house”.

At the rear of the space, one wall is covered in plant pots that residents can use to grow their own herbs and vegetables.

Grassy plants cover the roof of the building, offering a layer of insulation. ArchiBlox also specified the addition of in-ground cool tubes, designed to create cross-flow ventilation by pulling air in from the floor on the south side of the house and emitting it through the north-facing clerestory windows.

Prefab Homes are smart, efficient, cost effective and clever construction

The living spaces have been organised to be as compact as possible. A combined lounge, dining area and kitchen sit on one side, while a wall of cupboards screens a bedroom with an adjoining bathroom.

“Clever uses of joinery and the use of full height openings allows a free flowing space and generous area,” said ArchiBlox.

Architect Bill McCorkell describes his latest ArchiBlox house as like “a fridge, fully sealed”. Carbon positive, in simple terms, means putting more energy back overall than is taken out to build a home, Mr McCorkell says.

That means the house has to be more or less self-sufficient to run and constructed from modern, carbon-neutral materials.

“We have no mechanical heating and cooling in the home. We’ve got cool tubes to pull in cool air from the earth, which is used to ventilate the house.”

Air is drawn through the house in vertical stacks as the tight seals keep the cool temperature in and the heat out.

“We have five kilowatts of solar power on the roof, edible gardens within the house itself, so it can be a bit self-sufficient for food production . . . green sliding walls. The whole house has been designed to maximise solar gain. There are no fans, it’s all just naturally ventilated, cooled and heated.”

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Smart Prefab homes becoming popular

Prefabricated homes, often referred to as prefab homes, are specialist dwelling types of prefabricated building nspired by postmodernism or futurist architecture, which are manufactured off-site in advance, usually in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled.

Prefab homes are becoming popular in Europe, Canada and United States as they are relatively cheap when compared to many existing homes on the market. Modern architects are experimenting with prefabrication as a means to deliver well-designed and mass-produced modern homes.

Photo courtesy: Tom Ross.

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