, the demand for residential property is currently greater than what the city can physically bear.
?In addition to simply needing more space to put people, the housing market also demands that homes
be affordable and, increasingly, sustainable. This is a tall order for
developers who have been used to slapping together cheap apartments or
expensive McMansions for the last decade.
Design think-tank Sanitov Studios
decided that the solution to these converging problems needed a little
outside the box creativity. Or perhaps we should say "off the land"
creativity. ??The studio decided to explore the untapped houseboat
market as a potential way to make sustainable designs more affordable.
The result of their experiment is "The Ark", a solar-powered floating house that demonstrates the potential of houseboats in urban developments.
The Ark is currently floating peacefully on the Thames, powered entirely by solar photovoltaic technology, much like this offering
by Magma Design. With help from renewable energy installer, Enviko, the
Sanitov design team determined that the best way to meet the
houseboat's wireless electricity needs was to fill its upper deck with a
2kWp solar array.
At the heart of the boat's lighting
system is Lutron processor, providing control of all lighting circuits.
When passengers turn a light on, instead of turning on to 100 percent
power, like a traditional light switch,
the system is programmed to turn on to 80 percent power, the difference
in light output is barely noticeable to the human eye but the system is
consuming 20 percent less current, according to company specifications [PDF]. The system also allows all lights in the boat to be controlled by a bedside panel. No more stumbling around in the dark!
Rainwater/grey-water is harvested for cleaning
the boat and for watering an internal green wall. Heating and hot water
is provided by a highly efficient air source heat pump, which utilizes
CO2 as a natural refrigerant. ??The Ark's design also incorporates
sustainable and recyclable materials such as fast-growing bamboo,
reused, industrial wood and recyclable concrete.
Want to spend a long weekend in the Ark? You wouldn't be its first
inhabitants. After construction, the prototype houseboat's first task
was to house a select few members of the Danish Olympic team during the