Bottle-housesWhen writing the headline for this article, I was tempted to call it ‘The World’s Best Green Houses’ but was concerned that you would all be expecting to discover the secret to growing the best tomatoes and be heavily disappointed. Instead we are talking about energy efficient homes that people have created around the world. As the search for alternative fuel solutions goes on and we strive to develop new ways to live our lives, some ingenious architects and designers have helped to transform the way we look at houses. We may still be a few years away from there being solar panels on every roof and compost toilets in every bathroom but these designs take self-sufficiency to a new level. This may just be a peek into the future of the property industry.

  • Bottle houses – A company in Honduras called Eco-Tec have started building homes out of plastic bottles. Each one is structured using over 8,000 recycled bottles which are filled with a mixture made from cement, resulting in a cheap and long lasting construction. Similarly, a house in Nevada, built way back in the 1920’s, is made from glass bottles. The air inside these helps to insulate the house in winter, whilst the house itself proves that being green is not just a 21st century ideology.
  • Salvaged house – The designers of this house in Holland used Google Earth during its construction to help them locate abandoned building sites close to the area. They then salvaged a wide range of materials from these to use in the building process and created 60% of the outside and 90% of the inside using these. Along with a largely wooden exterior, the house boasts little touches such as recycled umbrella spokes for the lights.
  • The 100% self-sufficient house – A house in Costa Rica has been designed to provide everything it needs to power itself. Water from the nearby forest is used for power, with the help of two hydro-electric turbines that generate around 800kWh, as well as for sanitation purposes. Solar panels on the roof are designed to heat the water and provide over 10,000kWh of electricity, whilst every different material used in the construction process was tested to judge the effect it would have on the environment.
  • Solar powered house – This house, known as the Fab Lab, was displayed at an Expo in Madrid and is now available to be custom built for you in just 15 days; details can be found here should you be interested. The shape of the house is designed so that the solar panels that cover it will receive maximum exposure to the sun. It is built on legs so that it is well ventilated in the summer and is fashioned from entirely natural materials.
  • An eco-city – Plans have been drawn up for the worlds first eco-city to be built in Abu Dhabi. It will cover six square kilometres and be home to over 50,000 people. Cars that are not electrically powered will not be allowed and there will be magnetic pod-cars to transport people around a city that will also ban the building of skyscrapers. You will have to wait to buy your holiday home in this city though as construction will take over ten years and could cost around £10 billion to complete.

Chris Mayhew writes this article on behalf of Air Testing Sokutions. They can provide air pressure and air leakage testing for your home, helping you to make it as energy efficient as possible.