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Echo's modular Eco Pods scale up from office to off-grid home

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September 3, 2014

Brockloch Bothy, a holiday cottage in Scotland, is built from a number of Echo's Eco Pods ...

Brockloch Bothy, a holiday cottage in Scotland, is built from a number of Echo's Eco Pods (Photo: Echo)

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UK-based firm Echo has produced a new modular pod, dubbed Eco Pod, that measures 9 sq m (96.8 sq ft) and can be used for multiple purposes. As a standalone unit, the Eco Pod can serve as a small office or garden room, but it can also be joined together with other Eco Pods to make a flexible small home that's capable of operating off-the-grid.

Each Eco Pod module sports an interior finish and external cladding to suit each client's needs, and rests on adjustable legs, so it can be installed on relatively uneven ground. The pods are insulated with either wood fiber or sheep's wool.

According to Echo, the modular structures are legally defined as a caravan in the UK, so getting planning permission should be much easier than it would for a standard brick-and-mortar building.

A log-burning cooker can also be installed (Photo: Echo)

Optional off-grid extras include solar arrays for electricity and hot water, which fit onto the roof. Electricity is stored in a battery array that, when charged, is good for up to five days of 12V DC, and runs efficient LED lighting and low-power appliances. Additionally, the units can be outfitted with a composting toilet, a log burner complete with back-burner and thermal store for hot water use, and a log-burning cooker.

The home featured in this article is the Brockloch Bothy, an off-grid holiday cottage in Scotland, but other projects by the company utilizing the same modular pod design can be viewed in the gallery, including another home and an activity center.

The Eco Pods start at £10,000 (US$16,479) per module.

Source: Echo

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

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7 Comments

I like it. I always like these small houses. But I won't need four burners in a place with a sink the size of a motorcycle helmet.

Eddie
3rd September, 2014 @ 10:20 am PDT

I am confused by the specs on these '32 square ft Eco Pods'. I am guessing from the pictures that the 'pods' are 4x8= 32sq. ft. That's barely a medium closet. At $16,000 per pod, it will cost $256,000 for 16 pods with floor space of 256 sq. ft.

On the manufacturer's web page, the pods are described 100 sq. ft. per unit. This makes somewhat more sense, but the price would still be astronomical. A modest 1600 sq. ft for $256,000 and everything except floors and wall is an extra charge? Any building can be 'off the grid', if you pay for it.

Something is not quite right here...

Robert Walther
3rd September, 2014 @ 11:01 am PDT

I think that is really neat. I think it could used to make a variety of sizes of tiny and small houses. I like how modular it is.

Perhaps have a small village of small houses. Call it Smallville? :)

BigGoofyGuy
3rd September, 2014 @ 11:47 am PDT

The 10k per module price tag is a very rough estimate for a fully fitted home. Thats your kitchen, bathroom, appliances, solar pv, heating etc inclusive.

Echo
4th September, 2014 @ 02:01 am PDT

It looks like they got the math wrong: 3x3m is not 3 square meters but 9, and that would make roughly 97 square feet then, for each module.

Given the modules are prefabricated in a shop, the price tag is a bit too heavy, else I like the concept.

A bit more 'off grid' capabilities would be good, the fridge in the picture is exactly the same model I have in my camper, and while it is indeed well suited for off grid operation, it would sure not be good enough for a family of three or four.

martinkopplow
4th September, 2014 @ 03:25 am PDT

There seems to be a bit of confusion. These buildings, while based around a modular design, are bespoke, individual and handcrafted to completion in our workshop to suit the needs of the site and the client. We use very high quality materials. The combination of cross laminated timber walls and sheep wool insulation and double or triple glazed windows well exceed the U values required for a domestic dwelling, requiring little or no heating throughout most of the year in the UK. The off grid requirements of each building are sized to suit the energy needs of the client. In the case of the building illustrated, a prototype, we use 2x250 watt solar pv units linked to a battery storage providing 5 days of back up energy. If the needs of the client require more energy then extra pv units can be installed and make good use of the pyramid roof design. Just to clarify, the modules are 9m².

Echo
5th September, 2014 @ 03:59 am PDT

pricy, and not very accessible for wheelchairs

James Monroe
7th September, 2014 @ 09:23 am PDT
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