The Soleta zeroEnergy One, a small sustainable house

The Soleta zeroEnergy One, a small sustainable house

The Soleta zeroEnergy is a new family of modular eco-friendly houses by the Justin Capra Foundation for Inventions and Sustainable Technologies (FITS) in Romania. FITS set out to design flexible homes that would be affordable, both in terms of the initial purchase price and ongoing operating costs. The houses combine proven, practical strategies with leading edge technologies. Shown here is a prototype of the Soleta zeroEnergy One, the smallest home in the lineup.

The Soleta zeroEnergy has an unusual shape that is more commonly associated with farm buildings and airplane hangars than houses. But unlike those utilitarian structures, the zeroEnergy One is covered in wood shingles, has huge windows on the side and gable end, and has massive wood pergolas shading those windows.

The Soleta zeroEnergy One, a small sustainable house

The somewhat utilitarian appearance notwithstanding, the zeroEnergy One looks to be quite cozy inside, with exposed beams and wood finishes. The glue-laminated wood support arches leave the interior free of bearing walls or columns. The ground floor is 48 m2 (517 ft2), though the usable area will be somewhat less due to the sloping sidewalls. Upstairs (with the stairs being a set of giant steps that double as storage cabinets) is a 9 m2 (97 ft2) lofted bedroom.

The Soleta zeroEnergy One, a small sustainable house

The FITS team hopes that purchasers will pair the zeroEnergy homes with some form of renewable energy system in order to actually achieve net zero energy use on an annual basis. However, even if one is hooked up to standard utility services, it will still use those services sparingly. Large high-performance windows make good use of available daylight for illumination, and when artificial light is needed, it is supplied by low-power LED fixtures. The houses are designed to use natural ventilation when the weather is warm. For cool weather they have heat recovery ventilators that extract the heat from exhaust air. To maximize energy savings, an intelligent control system continually monitors the energy use, climate and air quality. When the residents are away from home, they can operate the system remotely using a mobile phone. As well, a rainwater collection and treatment system is provided.

Lots of photos for this one…enjoy!

Photographs courtesy of Justin Capra Foundation for Inventions and Sustainable Technologies (FITS).

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