Would You Live in an Egg to Be More Eco-Friendly?
It’s not just an egg—it’s a compact, portable apartment that generates its own clean energy without producing carbon dioxide, which is the leading cause of global climate change.
The Ecocapsule, created by Nice Architects, is the latest innovation by the Slovakian group, with a tiny catch.
The model is approximately 8.4 feet tall, 14.6 feet long, and 7.4 feet wide, with eight square meters of interior space. While the dimensions are small, there’s enough room inside to fit a folding bed, a dual workspace and dining area, a kitchenette, an en-suite bathroom, and storage.
“The Ecocapsule is designed to reduce the spacial needs of consumers without taking away from their experience. It is teaching people to manage limited resources like electricity and water,” said Nice Architects partner Igor Zacek.
The sleek metal exterior allows rainwater and dew to drip off the roof and into a water storage section located in the base of the Ecocapsule, which then supplies the unit with cold and hot water for the kitchen and bathroom. Any water source can be utilized through a filter that makes the water safe to use and drink in the mobile unit.
Energy collected from wind and sun through a built-in 750-watt wind turbine and 600-watt solar cells power the unit. Even in times of reduced wind activity or solar power, Zacek estimates there are about five days of battery reserve.
The exact price will be announced in the last quarter of 2015.
Zacek added: “Many people today think being eco-friendly means that we need to sacrifice our living standard and live in a hippie community. This innovation is showing people that eco-living is more accessible and popular than they may have thought.”
High-income countries use five times the ecological resources and services of low-income countries, according to a World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2014. It’s estimated that the U.S. alone uses 25 percent of the world’s resources, burning 25 percent of coal, 26 percent of oil, and 27 percent of natural gas; Americans make up about 5 percent of the world population.
By choosing to live in an eco-friendly space that utilizes recycled materials and natural energy, people can help make a positive impact on their surrounding environment—even if it comes with a small-space setback.
Though the Ecocapsule is one of the latest in tiny, but efficient eco-living designs, it isn’t the only one. Here are three other eco-living creations that combine a downgrade in size with an upgrade in environment-focused amenities:
1. The HomeBox
Created by Architech, a German-based design team, in 2011, the HomeBox is essentially the size of an internationally standardized freight container with its three-stories-high oblong structure. While the 63 square meters of space may not appeal to some, the wood material used for the exterior of the home acts as the environmental draw of the house.
Harvesting, transporting, manufacturing, and using wood as a building material yields fewer air emissions and greenhouse gases in comparison to the manufacturing and use of other common building materials, according to a recent lifecycle survey. Walls made of wood also require less energy for manufacturing.
2. The Hobbit House
Besides looking like something out of every Lord of the Rings fan’s fantasy, this hobbit house is a small but enchanting eco-friendly home.
The house, created by Simon and Jasmine Dale, cost the couple 3,000 pounds to build.
It is made of all natural resources, including stone and mud for retaining walls and foundations, straw bale flooring and roof for insulation, a renewable wood burner for heating, and a compost toilet. Water from a nearby spring acts as the home’s main water resource. There are solar panels throughout for lighting as well as skylights that allow natural light in.
A similar “hobbit house” in western Wales made headlines recently when the couple inhabiting the eco-home succeeded in saving the place from demolition, according to The Guardian. The couple was able to prove they met planning requirements by showing that 65 percent of their sustainable materials came from the surrounding environment.
3. The LoftCube
Designed by German designer Werner Aisslinger, it’s exactly what its name suggests—a cube. The LoftCube comes in four models, which have 2.5-meter ceilings in the living space, with the smallest floor plan being 41 square meters. The cozy space comes at a not-so-cozy cost of 109,000 euros ($120,000) for the basic LC34 model and runs up to 289,000 euros ($320,000) for the two-story LC120 structure.
However, the eco-features come as a huge plus. The cube has a 360-degree view, as floor-to-ceiling glass panels allow sunlight and sun energy to brighten the space. Though it relies on electrical energy for power, it has the ability to connect to a water-based system, a central supply system, or a gas system based on its location.
Over 90 percent of the LoftCube is made of recyclable material. Though the designers caution the over-usage of the model’s aluminum material, aluminum is reported to be a 100 percent recyclable and sustainable metal.
This post has been revised to reflect the following corrections:
Correction July 30, 2015: An earlier version of this article misstated the height of the LoftCube. It has an interior height of about 2.5 meters. The article also misstated a statistic about how ecological resources and services are used.