There are plentiful of deep rooted development challenges to be solved globally. This blog post is primarily directed to the developed world, and presents concerns about sustainable living, hereby housing.
It has been estimated that emissions from buildings counts for forty percent of the total global environmental contamination. In Norway, exciting projects are being initiated by The Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB). Their vision is to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings. The government has passed the objective of having zero emission buildings as the standard within the next five years (though this might be a bit too ambitious, it is the direction in which the building industry is going). Energy efficiency must be taken into consideration at all stages in the building process, and advanced, environmentally friendly materials must be used. The buildings are built with energy supply systems and can even produce energy surplus. The first zero emission project in Norway is Zero Village Bergen which will lead to new standards when it comes to the building industry, also outside the country’s borders.
You can have a closer look at the project here http://zerovillage.no/, read about ZEB here http://zeb.no/ and read about another ZEB pilot house following this link http://www.wired.com/2014/12/zero-emissions-house-charges-electric-car/#slide-1.
(The zero emission house can be seen as an extension to passive houses. Here’s a 90 seconds video explaining what a passive house is https://vimeo.com/74294955).
The cost of producing for example solar panels has dropped dramatically the last ten years (http://understandsolar.com/cost-of-solar/). Do you believe zero-emission houses will be prominent in the future?
Kruse Smith has initiated another interesting building project called Gaining by Sharing. It takes a more holistic view, rethinking what a home can be. While Airbnb is the sharing economy’s answer to holiday accommodation, this may be the building industry’s response to collaborative consumption. It is a kind of shared housing: people have their own private apartment with everything they need, but the private spaces are smaller, and there are larger, shared spaces where people meet and hang out. It is meant for all kind of people, of various ages. As the private apartments are smaller, the price will be lower, making it easier for people to actually buy a home. Maybe it can be a healthy solution for the problem of loneliness among the elderly and the hassle for younger people to find a babysitter by coupling them together from time to time? Have a look at their website for a better understanding of the project: http://gainingbysharing.no/
Their business model is quite different from how companies have been thinking and operating in this industry. More square meters per person has been the trend for decades. Do you think people will appreciate living in a closer, more connected way like this? Will the benefits from having a social network outside your doorstep and access to other facilities exceed the cost that may be attributed to less privacy?