The Greenest Home in the World [Video]

I was noodling some recent journalist potshots about headlines for “the greenest …” when I landed on this video piece from the Nightly News. NBC’s Kiko Itasaki wonders if this home in Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands of Scotland, is the greenest in the world. Everyone knows the question has no answer, but I think Michael and Dorothy Rea have accomplished something worth noticing that’s for sure.

The aim of their project, according to the Reas’ website, was to “pilot an approach to carbon-neutral living that can be replicated across the UK and elsewhere.

They built a home from an off-the-shelf kit from Scotframe Timber Frame Engineering (water-tight assembly in 4.5 days by three men). Systems for the home include an air-to-water heat pump with a custom water battery, a heat recovery ventilator, LED lights, solar panels, small wind turbines, and fuel cells that store power for use with a refitted electric Toyota Yaris.

Additionally, the Reas have a 1,000 square-foot, hydroponic greenhouse where they grow food to sustain a vegetarian diet. Apparently some of the food is maintained by minerals and rainwater harvested from the roof, too.

[+] More about the Zero Carbon House in Shetland.


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  • Rob Harrison AIA

    Great project! The fact that it’s 1,000 SF is fantastic–especially compared to some of the houses in Martin Holladay’s post. It might have been water-tight in 4.5 days, but the reporter in the video says it was “six years in the building.” Hm. That it’s $420/SF suggests we’ve still got a ways to go to make this affordable, and therefore accessible to “anyone who wants” to build a carbon neutral house.

    • Rob Harrison AIA

      Oh wait–sorry–that’s the greenhouse that’s 1,000 SF.

  • justin

    You live in a place with 100 mph winds…. How lovely. This is overboard and for show. Why not live in a more practical place and retrofit an existing house with some energy efficient tech. I’m sure shipping all those materials to your site released some carbon, as did the manufacturing of it.

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