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Soleta zeroEnergy homes have everything needed for comfortable off-grid living

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May 6, 2013

The Soleto zeroEnergy One home

The Soleto zeroEnergy One home

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Romanian non-profit green-tech firm Justin Capra Foundation for Sustainable Technologies and Inventions (or FITS), has unveiled the Soleta zeroEnergy range of sustainable off-grid homes. The flexible dwellings are available in several shapes and sizes, and combine rustic modular design with the proverbial kitchen sink of energy saving and producing technologies.

The Soleta zeroEnergy range comprises several homes, ranging from a small unit with just 48 square-meters (516 sq ft) usable floor space (plus attic), up to a relatively sizable model suitable for a family of five, with a main area floor space of 100 square-meters. Clever space-saving storage solutions will help make the most of available space.

While the name may imply that these homes have no energy needs, they've actually been designed to utilize renewable energy sources to allow residents to jump feet-first into the off-grid lifestyle. If that sounds a bit too adventurous, modern amenities like running water and electricity can be hooked-up if desired.

A pellet-burning stove is available for cooler climes

Depending on need and budget, each zeroEnergy home can incorporate a geothermal water heating system, wind power, solar power, and water collection. Large low-e windows and LED lighting feature throughout, and a pellet-burning stove is also available for cooler climes. A computer monitoring system helps keep everything in check.

The houses are reportedly manufactured from 97 percent recycled materials, with wood being the primary material of choice. Each unit is modular, and so if space does eventually become an issue, an extra section should be relatively simple to add. The homes can be built on either wooden foundations, or existing concrete foundations at lower cost.

A garden pond and swimming pool can be incorporated into the design

The Soleta zeroEnergy range of homes are by no means the only viable fully off-grid abodes we’ve covered here at Gizmag, and Studio H:T’s effort springs to mind as an appealing alternative.

The range starts at €25,000 (roughly US$32,000) for the smallest zeroEnergy One, with the larger zeroEnergy Two unit commanding a cool €57,000. A ten-year warranty is included with the sale, and FITS is currently exhibiting a show house outside the US embassy in Bucharest, Romania.

Source: Soleta (in Romanian, but a company rep informed us that English-language content will be added soon)

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley.   All articles by Adam Williams
7 Comments

I think it shows that being green can be so cool. I really love the small house. In a time where less is more, this shows that less can still be really nice.

There is a growing trend here in the USA for small homes. I think this would fit perfectly in with that trend (the smaller one anyway). :)

BigWarpGuy
6th May, 2013 @ 05:42 am PDT

I think that these "sustainable" "off grid" homes are nice exercises but not practical. Do they meet snow load requirements? Is it built to a North American Code? (It is Romanian...) It isn't really "sustainable". It needs a heating plant. It needs power. Windmills cost. They require maintenance. Solar panels have a 20 year life. How about storage batteries? These things have a limited life and their manufacture has a huge impact on the environment. If you want something really sustainable, try sleeping in recycled caskets and burning their former occupants to keep warm. They could also be composted and used to fertilize the next crop of trees to build more caskets. Sounds stupid? No more so than a "sustainable" house.

Grumpyrelic
7th May, 2013 @ 07:53 am PDT

I would love to go that route but many cities in the USA will not allow you to be off the grid, energy, water or other systems. Maybe these houses will fair better throughout Europe, Africa and South America.

33Nick
7th May, 2013 @ 12:54 pm PDT

Every time there Gizmag publishes something about sustainable housing, someone seems to get are bent out of shape. Maybe you don't like the house... so what? We should keep messing things up for the next generation until there's nothing left? I've seen several really great sustainability builds/rebuilds that have lowered residential and commercial costs, been better all the way around for the environment, and paid off relatively quickly. Sure, a lot of these were retrofits of existing buildings or designs, but that doesn't make the effort "stupid".

I admit, I don't love the floorplan, but it's a good idea, easy to produce, and reasonably practical without the pretense of some of these projects. It's a good start, at least, and probably a great house for a lot of people.

Also, I think many of those of us with a mind for future generations would love to cut down on casket burials (and have planned something else for ourselves), but the energy required to dig up several feet of concrete (what, you think they just put dirt on top?) makes it so modern cemeteries are unlikely to see reuse for the next several hundred years.

Phyzzi
7th May, 2013 @ 01:43 pm PDT

I love the design. There are still a lot of areas with relaxed building codes in the US. I wish they sold floor plans since shipping the kit from Romania would be silly...

Robert Janca
7th May, 2013 @ 07:55 pm PDT

33Nick: "... many cities ... will not allow ..." Yea, govt. is the #2 barrier to survival. The #1 barrier is those who support govt. It amazes me when I point out every statist regulation as counterproductive, i.e., having destructive unintended consequences, and the default argument is: "But govt. is just trying to help." Good intentions do not begin with force. A good idea need not be pushed down people's throats. Rational persuasion is the scientific method. Which promotes life: science or politics?

Don't let govt. control you. Move to a region where you are free to pursue your dream. Or find a way around the control. Never assume people have a right to tell you how to live "for your own good" or the "common good". Resistance is not futile. It is essential to being human.

Don Duncan
8th May, 2013 @ 10:50 am PDT

Sounds like a great investment for those who can afford to buy a home. But for those who prefer to rent, I suggest finding green apartments. And if by chance you really can't find one, you can always choose to live greener lives by practicing the 3R's: reduce, reuse and recycle just like I do at my apartments in Richardson TX .

Pepper Cee
24th May, 2013 @ 04:03 pm PDT
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