the way we live

zero house


as i discovered at treehugger, and aptly named the zero house, this gorgeous prefab generates all its own energy requirements and produces no waste.  designed by scott specht, the zero house is a modest 650 sqft. dwelling.  the cantilevering roof features photovoltaic cells that easily generate all the structure’s power requirements while also acting as an active rainwater collector (a 2,700 gal. cistern stores the water for later use).  furthermore, the house contains a composting unit that processes biological waste “in-house.”  the rest of the house features energy saving design strategies including ample daylighting (led lights are used for artificial light requirements), incredibly energy efficient wall assemblies (r-58 in fact), triple glazed windows, and a compact design (reducing overall energy requirements).


while the zero house may be the model of energy efficiency and the envy of the sustainable design community it is also a wonderfully sleek and aesthetically pleasing design.  as you can see from the interior rendering below, both the finishes and the spatial arrangement are clean and refined.  i find the compact, multi-level design to be invigorating, but the real celebration here is in lack of environmental impact.  building’s generate a largely disproportionate amount of pollution and readdressing the way we build is fundamental in rehabilitating our planet and curbing our wasteful lifestyles.  the design of the zero house can be viewed as a harbinger of what could come, what should come.  the more proposals for sustainable housing are released and/or built, the more aware the public becomes of the problem and the more acclimated and accepting to the solution we become.


1 November 2007 - Posted by | architecture, green, modern, prefab


  1. hi,
    this is indeed a great concept. loved everything about it! including the name!and thanks for introducing me to the ‘treehugger’.

    Comment by anonimiss | 2 November 2007 | Reply

  2. I totally agree with you. Also I think a lot of people are not aware that these greener buildings are out there; it’s almost a futuristic concept to most.

    Comment by juric | 2 November 2007 | Reply

  3. hi dear green friends.
    this is a fabulous idea ;however i is not possible since its in the midle of nowhere, you must spend so mcuh time, so much gas and energy to get there. being green is different from greenwashing. anyhow i love the idea and how it looks 🙂

    Comment by ali | 6 November 2007 | Reply

  4. hi ali, thanks for your thoughts. while i wholeheartedly agree greenwashing is a serious problem in contemporary society (especially with the manner in which the LEED system is employed), i’m not sure this project would qualify. while the point you make is true, from the above renderings the zero house seems to be situated in the sticks, there is nothing to say that the prefabricated units couldn’t be assembled on a site closer to the factory or in any town (save for stodgy city boards and insulated building codes). additionally, i would argue that while fuel and energy are expended in transporting this house it would be a very worthwhile trade off if the house is as sustainable as the talking points on the zero house website make me believe it is (not to mention the environmentally responsible aspects of the actual design that minimize overall energy requirements, produce any energy actually required, and recycle any waste produced). but back to your main point, i agree about the problem with greenwashing, in fact i’ve been meaning to post something about that here for a couple weeks now. stop back this weekend when i will try and finally get around to doing so (you’ve inspired me to get it done).

    Comment by Geoff | 6 November 2007 | Reply

  5. […] about energy required for transportation and construction (as we discussed in the comments of the zero house).  however, to me it appears as though this house is just gorgeous, not […]

    Pingback by montecito residence « the way we live | 13 November 2007 | Reply

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