Italian architect Giancarlo Zema has designed a new eco-friendly floating home. The WaterNest 100 is a circular pod-like structure that provides 100 sq m (1,076 sq ft) of living space. Up to 98 percent of the structure is made of recycled materials and it is powered by a roof-top solar array.

Zema is no stranger to designing innovative aquatic residences. His previous concepts have included the Trilobis 65 yacht-cum-home, a semi-submerged cliff-side dwelling and a five-level floating apartment block. Unlike these designs, however, the WaterNest 100 feels practical and like something you might actually live in one day.

"The inspiration came from observing the aquatic nests of water birds all over the world where they can live and growing their babies in total harmony with nature," explains Zema to Gizmag. "So I thought of designing something similar that can help us to embrace life and allow us to live a floating experience in a natural and energy saving habitat."

It's designed for being moored on rivers, lakes, bays, atolls and calm seas. The gorgeous curved structure is 12 m (39 ft) in diameter and 4 m (13 ft) high. It has a recycled aluminum hull, a laminated wooden supporting frame, and curved wooden cladding and partition walls that are treated to be weather-resistant.

Electricity is generated via a 60 sq m (646 sq ft) solar array that is integrated into the roof of the structure. Amorphous solar panels are used, which are shaped to match the curve of the building's roof. EcoFloLife, which has developed the WaterNest 100 based on Zema's design, says the array has a peak output of 4 kWp, but that the WaterNest 100 can operate on around 1 kWp.

In addition, a micro-ventilation system is employed, with ceiling and floor air grilles allowing for the introduction of fresh air to the interior. EcoFloLife says an automated temperature control system ensures very low energy consumption and minimal maintenance.

The interior of the WaterNest 100 can be configured in a variety of different ways, each generally incorporating a central square space and accommodating up to a family of four with two bedrooms. As well as being used as a residential unit, it's possible to set up as an office, lounge bar, restaurant, shop or exhibition space.

A home automation system allows users to control lighting, draw curtains and blinds, and control the sound system. Preset lighting, air conditioning and sound profiles can be triggered, and users can monitor energy consumption and temperature. EcoFloLife also suggests a variety of different eco-friendly furniture options.

Zema says that the WaterNest 100 will be realized very soon. We're waiting to hear back on more detail of when that might be, if any prototypes have already been produced and how much a WaterNest 100 might set you back.

Sources: Giancarlo Zema Design Group, EcoFloLife