Waste, waste, waste. We’ve turned out to be great at it. But what if it could be a different way? A way where we could spend less money, have more, and give back to our Mother Earth while doing it
Our future home could make electric bills a thing of the past, and even help you earn money in the process. Plus-energy homes are popping up around the world, generating more energy than they use, and can even be set up to sell excess energy back to the grid. Beautiful, energy efficient, and increasingly affordable, these dwellings are proving the viability of renewable energy over fossil fuel sources. We’ve rounded up five plus-energy homes that can produce more energy than they need, with some so powerful that they can even light up the house next door.
Designed by ArchiBox, the solar panel-topped Carbon Positive House is Australia’s very first carbon-positive prefab home. All 800-square-feet of the house generate more energy than they consume while also soaking up significant amounts of natural light via the double-glazed facade. A green roof and vertical garden walls provide proper insulation and shade. Inside the home you’ll find an interior that offers materials and fixtures that are energy efficient, sustainably sourced, and non-toxic to boot.
The Heliotrope is a stunning energy-plus solar home in Freiburg, Germany that rotates 180 degrees to follow the sun’s path and maximize solar panel efficiency. A 6.6 kWH rooftop solar array helps the home achieve plus-energy status, while solar thermal tubing heats the home’s water and radiators. Designed by architect Ralph Disch, the rotating home can generate up to five times the energy it consumes and includes a greywater and rainwater recycling system, as well as a composting toilet.
Image: Rolf Disch
Architecture studio Werner Sobek Group is behind this energy-plus home that generates so much clean energy it not only powers itself, but two electric cars and the house next door, too. Consisting of 914-square-feet, the home features a smart energy system capable of learning and adapting to the habits of the homeowner, who can access the system via a smartphone or tablet.
Image: Zooey Braun
The light-filled Home For Life dwelling is a striking contemporary home completed as one of eight experimental Active Houses financed by FKR Holding. The 2,045-square-foot two-bedroom house is filled with natural light and strategically placed to take in 50% of its winter heating from passive solar means. The ultra-efficient home includes a photovoltaic system, solar hot water system, heat pump, energy optimized windows, and an automatic natural ventilation system.
Image: AART Architects
Dramatically tilted toward the southeast, Snøhetta’s ZEB Pilot House is a plus-energy family house that produces enough surplus energy to power an electric car year-round. Located in Larvik, Norway, the 200-square-meter home serves as a demonstration project to facilitate learning and is powered by rooftop solar energy and geothermal energy.