Life on the uninhabited island in northern Britain can be very difficult. On Unst the winters are hard and the winds, brutal and relentless, regularly hit the landscape with no trees more than 170km / h.
But Unst is the island chosen by a retired couple from Wiltshire to build one of the world’s most environmentally friendly homes: a zero emission home that works in their entirety by exploiting the energy of wind and sun. Is in the same latitude as southern Greenland, but may soon boast of the lemon trees, grapevines and green pepper plants in its greenhouse, an electric car driven by wind and soil heated drawing heat from the air.
The three-bedroom house designed by Michael and Dorothy Rea, near the coast of a lonely bay, has become a test bed to live “outside the grid”: generating all the energy it needs from renewable sources cultivated at home most of their food and driving a car that does not need to go to the gas station.
His house, built just over 210,000 pounds from a prefabricated wooden house has been doing a little bit famous. The Scottish Executive in Edinburgh, it is being used as a reference for the new rules of sustainable house building, the staff of the Office of the Prime Minister noted progress and government officials from China are exploring innovative technologies to build a new eco-village of 5,000 houses in Guangzhou, southern China.
Last year, the Reas found their site (zerocarbonhouse.com) was the world’s fourth most popular in Google. Michael Rea are awake, often until 5 am, answering e-mails of graduate students, environmentalists and even Canadian senators.
The house is well insulated and underfloor heating uses heat from outside air captured and stored in a “water battery” giant. A ventilation system captures the heat inside the house and reused. Collect rainwater for use in the toilet and washing machine. Its large windows capture the sun’s heat.
Energy for the dishwasher, the kitchen, toaster, refrigerator, computers and the light comes from a wind turbine to charge fuel cells capable of storing energy for four days. LED lights in the house will consume as much energy as a 100W bulb.
The greenhouse will have its own wind turbine. Plants were grown hydroponically in nutrient-rich liquid, with a special LED lighting to create daylight and artificial station. The Toyota Yaris, converted to run on batteries, are charged with energy from fuel cells.