I’ve often thought it was odd that modern building standards don’t incorporate environmentally sustainable features into their designs. It seems that we are slowly getting there with the adoption of solar panels and water tanks but our homes certainly aren’t self sufficient. Until fairly recently, councils in Queensland wouldn’t allow residential water tanks. Having lived on a yacht, self sufficiency is something that is contemplated on a daily basis. Solar panels, wind generators, water makers, water catchers etc., are all features incorporated into cruising yachts. Below is a well set up yacht which even has a wind scoop to funnel a breeze through the boat.
So why not houses. It’s so simple and unlike yachts they aren’t limited for space. Solar panels can be placed in a constant position to optimise gain unlike a boat that is moving around. The technology is readily available and cheap. Cheap compared to the infrastructure involved in supplying 240v.
A friend sent me a link to this documentary on an American architect Mike Reynolds. He designs and builds houses largely from rubbish or recycled materials in a sustainable and cheap way. He has coined the term “Earth Ships” and it makes a lot of sense. Build houses with systems in place that you would have on a ship. A self contained micro environment using readily available and cheap resources.
The aesthetics of the designs may be subjective but overall I think they are beautiful. The cost of housing in Australia is crazy with the mean house price for Brisbane being $600,000. In Sydney it’s closer to $1,000,000. Then there is the cost of having the house. Rates, utilities and maintenance. We end up being locked into a lifetime of mortgage and utility payments with no end in sight. We don’t have time to grow our own food because we are at work trying to make money. The result is that we are just slaves to banks, utility companies and now supermarkets that supply our food. We have become a society completely dependent on authorities.
I recommend watching the awesome doco above. It demonstrates how we are being held to ransom by regulations and laws.