March 26, 2015
Conceived by the German designer and engineer Werner Sobek, the Aktivhaus is a sophisticated modular and modernist home that generates twice as much energy as it consumes. Its components are fully recyclable, and take only a day to assemble; and the fact the modules can be stacked suggests they could be suited to high-density cities.
Sobek first started developing the Aktivhaus concept in 2000, when the design community was forced to consider fossil fuels, global warming and population growth. In this case, it was a house that produced no emissions or waste, and derived no energy from fossil fuels – three tenets Sobek refers to as the Triple Zero standard. The current Aktivhaus prototype in Stuttgart, Germany – nicknamed B10 – is powered by photovoltaic thermal panels on its roof, which generate electricity that creates heat as a byproduct. Fantastic right!
B10 doesn’t require as much energy as your typical home, thanks to the clever engineering of Sobek. The most intriguing element is that the house is connected to local weather stations so that it can adjust its energy usage based on the forecast. The inclusion of an underground ice storage tank also cuts down on energy needs by removing the need for traditional heating and air conditioning systems. “In summer, the ice is used to cool the house. By melting, it absorbs heat energy,” Sobek says. “In winter, it gradually freezes. Each time a chuck of water turns into ice, a certain amount of heat energy is released, which is then used to heat the house via a heat pump, which brings the energy to a higher temperature level.”
While the current prototype was imagined for high-density cities, Sobek hopes to bring the concept to all regions. This year, prototypes will be built in southern Argentina and Patagonia, while 2016 will see the Aktivhaus debut in Siberia and Turkey.
Submitted by: Dwayne