Smartphone-enabled electronic door locks such as the Unikey
and Goji do
have advantages over their traditional counterparts – digital “keys” can be sent to multiple users’ phones, access to locked rooms can be limited to specific dates and/or times for certain users, and keys stored on lost phones can simply be deactivated. However, as with just about any electronic version of a purely-mechanical device, they do introduce one complicating factor: they require a power supply. The Recordura lock, however, generates its own electricity when users push on its handle.
However efficient a prison may be, it still typically expends significant energy resources. But what if a prison could actually create
power, rather than just consume it? That's the thinking behind lecturer in architecture Dr. Margot Krasojevic's futuristic offshore floating Hydroelectric Waterfall Prison concept, which isn't just self-sustaining, but produces excess energy for homes on the mainland too.
SEED Collaborative has teamed up with Method Homes for the construction of what it hopes will become the first modular building to pass the Living Building Challenge. The SEEDclassroom is designed to be a portable teaching space available at short notice, and yet one which meets its own energy and water needs.
Dutch studio Haiko Cornelissen Architecten has revealed a rethink of the typical Panamanian holiday home that breaks away from the current format by using sliding wooden doors that traverse the entire width of the building. To be located twenty minutes outside of the city in Cerro Azul, the sideways approach of the Air Villa design aims to provide an energy efficient dwelling with maximum exposure to the surrounding environment.
Architects are increasingly designing houses which produce as much energy as they consume, which has led to a plethora of innovative sustainable homes, some conventional in design
and some decidedly not
. The Mo Ventus luxury house concept from Todd Theodore Fix of FIXd Architecture/Design falls squarely in the latter category, with plans that call for retractable screens that regulate heat and light, along with a curved design to harness wind power more efficiently.
Drugstore chain giant Walgreens has announced its intention to build what the company believes will be the first net zero retail store in the United States. Once open for business, engineers anticipate that the combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration will allow the new store to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes.
In some cities, the airport can be the busiest place for miles and tends to consume a fair amount of energy as a result. It's no wonder then that several modern airports have started incorporating more green technology into their designs, like photovoltaic panels
and wind-powered generators
. Now the city of Amman, Jordan is getting in on the trend with the recently opened Queen Alia International Airport, which features an energy efficient, modular design modeled after palm fronds.
We've seen plenty of impressive net zero houses in the past, from the motion-controlled CHIP House
in California to the budget-priced Sosoljip
in South Korea. But one issue that seems predominant in most energy-neutral homes is that they typically take on a design that doesn't suit many suburban areas. That may soon change though with the first Active House, which uses natural lighting and ventilation to reduce its energy consumption while still blending in with the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood.
If you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you might be familiar with little balls of seaweed that regularly wash up on the beach. These come from the Posidonia oceanica plant (better known as Neptune grass), and are generally thought of as a nuisance. Now, however, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology is involved in a project that’s converting the little balls into high-quality building insulation.
Modern passive house it may be, but as its name suggests, the showstopper at Equinox House in Bulgaria harkens to ancient times when humans built buildings in veneration to heavenly bodies. A narrow aperture in the roof transforms the house into a solar calendar leading it's designer, Ignatov Architects, to refer to the house as a "celestial instrument."