There are innovative and flexible designs in the work at MIT to address overcrowding in cities, by using folding cars, “quick-change” apartments with robotic walls, and energy saving lighting fixtures.
New cities in China are being built using cradle to cradle design to create spaces environmentally and community mindful.
Ecovative grows fungus-based construction and packaging “Myco” material that performs like plastic and protects fragile shipments, but is biodegradable.
Kevin Surace designed EcoRock, a clean, recyclable and energy-efficient drywall, with the aim to reduce the huge carbon footprint generated by manufacturing and constructing buildings.
Doris Kim Sung uses thermo bi-metals – designed to resemble human skin, shading a room from sun or self-ventilating, and reducing energy used.
Smart materials are coming into daily use – including fabrics that light up, paints that conduct electricity, pigments that change color in windows and walls, or kitchenware depending on temperature.
Marcin Jakubowki started a project to write and share an instructions set for building an entire self-sustaining village. His group Open Source Ecology created the “Global Village Construction Set.”
The Italian 3D printing company WASP developed an easily-transportable 3D printer that can quickly create homes out of mud and natural fibers—materials already available on building sites.
Building with sandbags is a great alternative to conventional construction, even considered superior in quality and comfort of living, reducing the carbon footprint and cost of building a home.
Straw bale construction uses bales of straw, such as wheat, rice, rye and oats, as structural elements. It is a sustainable building method, in terms of materials and energy needed for heating and cooling.
Tire homes have a “negative carbon” footprint, on average removing 2,000 tires from landfills for their construction. An efficient passive-solar design also saves a lot of energy used for heating and cooling.
“Binishell” was conceived and pioneered by Dante Bini in the 1960’s. The Ecoshell domes can provide living space that withstands fires and earthquakes when built properly, costing as low as $3,500 to build.
Ecocapsule is an egg-shaped tiny portable home that can go off-grid and off-pipe. Powered by solar and wind energy and using filtered rainwater it allows to bring comforts of civilization into wilderness.
“Weaving a Home” uses structural fabric that’s lightweight, flexible and mobile, allowing families to weave a shelter that provides the fundamental comforts of heat, electricity, running water, and storage.
Michael McDaniel designed and coordinated production of an inexpensive and easy to transport housing for disaster relief zones, called the Exo Reaction Housing Solution.
Bamboo is lightweight yet strong, with the tensile strength of steel. Each pole is unique and grows very quickly, both a resource for creative expression and a sustainable source of building material.
i-Beam Designs came up with pallet house, an easy and inexpensive emergency home. The house comes with a manual and can be built in a day with basic tools and no prior construction experience.
Rainwater harvesting is one of the oldest and most effective forms of water collection and can help decentralize the water supply. The rain is drained from the roofs into barrels, cisterns, or tanks.
Michigan State University researchers designed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator that can be used on buildings, cell phones, and other devices with a clear surface that harvests energy.