We’ve seen some pretty energy efficient homes here at Inhabitat, but houses that actually give back to the grid seemed to be a thing of the future — until now. Swedish designers are currently constructing Villa Akarp, a residence that aims to combine energy conservation, energy recovery and energy generation technologies. If all goes as planned, the home will actually produce more energy than it uses and provide the excess to the grid.
Karin Adalberth, a doctor of building physics, partnered with local green utility company E. ON when she designed the plans for Villa Akarp, which is being built outside the Swedish city of Malmo. Together, the two worked out a plan where the residence would purchase energy from the utility during Sweden’s dark winter months and sell electricity back to the grid during sunny summer months. If calculations are correct, the house will sell back about 4,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually while only purchasing 2,600 kilowatt-hours, creating a positive net energy ratio.
To achieve such lofty green goals, designers plan to implement a ton of energy efficient technologies into Villa Akarp. For one, wool fiber insulation 5.5 decimeters thick will line the home’s walls–compared to a home with insulation one decimeter thick, the extra lining would save the average family about 75 percent in energy costs. Foam insulation will line the building’s foundation, and triple-glazed windows will prevent air from escaping while also letting in lots of natural light. In terms of heat and hot water, the home will use a combination of Passiv Haus heating concepts (using energy already being generated by appliances and other household items to warm the interior), a solar thermal system, and traditional radiators. During the sunny months, 32 square meters of solar panels will produce power.
While the residence is certainly a huge step forward in terms of green home design, it also comes with a significantly larger price tag. Designers estimate that it will cost about $100,000 more to build Villa Akarp than to build a traditional home. But despite the extra dough required to build it, Villa Akarp certainly deserves some heavy praise for its innovation and forward-thinking green design principles.