What's not to love about the earthy 360° Kransberg Highlands International Green Estate? Surrounded by 360 degrees of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve's stunning pink-hued beauty (a haven for five of Africa's biggest, baddest wild animals), this carbon-neutral, 100 percent sustainable retreat is a nature lover's dream home. Best of all, it's more than just a concept -- the estate's first phase of construction is currently under way.
The name 360º refers not only to the zen surroundings, but also to nature’s never-ending cycles: the seasons, the planetary movements and their trajectory within the universe, and our cyclical relationship with the earth. The estate is the first of its kind in South Africa, and it helps residents step back into the loop by maintaining low human occupancy, reintroducing native fauna and flora, and using mostly locally-sourced materials.
Almost all of the timber used for flooring, doors, window frames, and even the interior cupboards is FSC certified, re-used, or taken from cut down invasive species. The walls are constructed from dry-packed, compressed soil bricks and reinforced with double cavity walls to enhance insulation. Some of the walls are even constructed with rammed earth.
Adding to the building’s thermal mass and acoustics are the double-glazed windows and oversized glass door. The green roof has been scientifically researched to ensure both superior insulation, safety and efficient rainwater collection.
Water heating and a portion of the project’s energy needs are provided by building-integrated photovoltaic panels, while a biogas digester uses human and organic waste to produce gas for cooking. Energy requirements will be low as a result of the building’s passive design and use of efficient technology – for example, only north-facing roof windows will be used to optimize solar gain, and the home will only employ LED lights.
In keeping with the cycles, EcoZa has refrained from any man-made landscaping initiatives outside. This choice keeps the soil porous and allows for natural drainage. Any excess waste water is channeled to an on-site constructed wetland.
By forging a sustainable future for South Africa, EcoZa demonstrates that it is possible to live in harmony with our wild friends.