The pandemic was a negative experience in many ways, but it was also revealing. Over the last year, people have reconnected with nature and with their home. So why not combine the two by talking about the most sustainable houses in the world?
Most sustainable houses in the world: The house made of wood, straw and cork
On the outskirts of a small Italian village stands a farm made of wood, straw and cork designed by LCA Architetti, an architecture firm based in Milan. This house was built for a young couple of computer scientists who wanted to work closer to nature and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
The prefabricated wooden structure that reflects the style of the neighboring farmhouses and barns located in the immediate area. The exterior of the house is lined with a type of insulating material harvested from the bark of cork oak trees. This house is further insulated through the use of straw, traditionally used as insulation for other rural dwellings such as barns and henhouses. The straw insulation consists of repurposed discarded rice plants handed over by nearby farmers in the area.
Sustainability was a top priority in constructing The House of Wood, Straw, and Cork.
This home’s commitment to energy efficiency is demonstrated through the recycled material used for insulation as well as the cluster of solar panels that are located on the roof of the home. The structure is entirely self-powered, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Wanaka Wedge House that Echoes New Zeland’s surrounding landscape.
Situated on an isolated ridge on New Zealand’s South Island, The Wanaka Wedge House is dark gray, clad in corrugated metal panels in tribute to New Zealand’s modern taste. The property features asymmetrical windows that contrasts the simple shape of the house to respond to views and specific proportions of the interior spaces. They overlook Central Otago District, a region known for its wineries. On the side of the house, covered with light gray metal panels, we find a cubic garage and a wine cellar.
The Wanaka Wedge House fans out offering a view of the peaks of the outlying mountains. And its interiors are warmed up by locally sourced and custom-milled eucalyptus wood panels that curve into the walls and ceilings and on some floors, providing the home with a sophisticated poise and cozy ambiance. Wood panels offer low heat conductivity, so The Wanaka Wedge House gradually adapts to the changing temperatures of the area gradually.
During the colder months, the home’s stone flooring, built from local river-stone aggregate, heats up with an efficient hydronic radiant system. The architects behind the home selected materials and thermal systems to meet both sustainability and design goals, showcasing the local finishes and craftwork.
The tiny house made with waste materials from the landfill
FLEXSE is a prefabricated micro-dwelling, a small house designed to adapt to all seasons. The welcoming structure is built entirely of 100% recyclable materials and can be assembled on site. This tiny house can be set up nearly everywhere, in remote areas, in the countryside or even on the water. Considering that construction industry is more polluting than air transport (12% vs 2% – can you believe it?), it is wonderful to see an ecological house that can be built anywhere.
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One of its most distinctive details is the circular window that recalls the porthole of the ships, with a periscope-like view. The angled roof minimizes the accumulation of snow and rain, recalling the houses we used to draw as children. This house features an elegant wooden interior and exterior with an open grill that heats the space. The cabin, despite its compactness, maximizes the usable area by maintaining a minimal footprint and using design to make it functional for different scenarios.
One of the most sustainable houses in the world, but also a getaway cabin or a remote office pod, right?
The house on four wheels, sustainable and on the go
Tiny Housing Co has created Natura, an environmentally friendly tiny house on wheels with a loft bedroom. The house, built on a trailer for easy transportation, was designed to be both ecological and luxurious. But it’s not the only small housing unit the UK-based home builder has created. Natura is joined by Nomad, Endura and Itinerant 1L, all with different floor plans and exterior designs.
The main feature of Natura, however, is its eco-compatibility, its creator has included several features – visible and invisible – to achieve this goal. We are talking about solar panels, a water filtration system, insulation and “efficient” appliances and environmentally friendly building materials such as cork panels.
The front of the house consists of a large glass wall and a door leading to the outside deck. Natural light comes in through the various windows across the tiny home, including some by the bedroom, kitchen, and dining area. The lofted bedroom can fit a king bed with under-bed storage, allowing the unit to accommodate two people. The ground floor living room has room for a sofa and television. Natura’s walls are insulated using various materials to maintain the internal temperature. In line with its eco-conscious design, the tiny home’s kitchen uses energy-saving appliances, according to its maker. The bathroom features a shower, toilet, lockers, shelves and a mirror… Perfect for a trip immersed in nature.