19 Oct 2017
World innovation news
Infrastructures and Built Environment
Floating Houses to End the Floods!
Strong rains and hurricanes caused serious damage to homeowners in Canada, the United States and several Caribbean islands in 2017. This article presents self-contained floating houses in several parts of the world. These types of houses can help to remedy flooding problems for those who like to live near a water body.
Floating houses projects in Europe
Several lakes and portions of rivers where the water flows slowly have roads on their shore, steep terrain, small land area or wetlands that do not allow the construction of a second residence bordering the water. In these conditions, why not build floating houses respecting environmental standards? This is the challenge presented in the Autartec project: Fraunhofer research center and its partners seek to build a fully autonomous floating home (see video below).
Covering an area of 109 m2 (1173 ft2) with 75 m2 (807 ft2) on the ground floor and 34m2 (365 ft2) on the second, this modern architectural house is built on a 13 m by 13 m (43 feet by 43 feet) floating steel structure (pontoon). The construction of a first home will be on the Geierswalde Lake in Lausitz, Germany in 2017.
This house will be equipped with a multitude of advanced technologies so that it can float, use filtered lake water as drinking water, treat their wastewater on site respecting environmental compliance and make it autonomous (electricity, heating and cooling). All of these technologies will be designed to minimized their weight: too heavy and the house could sink.
To reduce the weight of the house solar panels, they will be integrated into the building envelope. Lithium ion batteries energy storage will be incorporated in the concrete walls and in the stairs structure. The researchers want to design a closed circuit for drinking water and water used for sanitary services using physical and chemical treatment systems. Biological treatment systems used on land can not be implemented on a pontoon floating structure.
The price has not been yet mentioned given the fact that many innovative technologies designed for this project still require research and development work. In this region, however, there are other floating house projects that have already been built as demonstrated in this video.
These 45 m2 floating houses (484 ft2) were designed for the Lausitz Resort hotellier complex by Steeltec37 architect firm. Rental rates make these floating homes affordable which lead us to believe that such projects could be done at relatively reasonable costs.
Floating house in Toronto
This is one of the best kept secrets in the Toronto area: Scarborough, an East suburb in the city of Toronto, there is floating homes on Lake Ontario; and residents spend the winter in them!