Monday, May 24, 2010

The Zenrainman Museum


Zenrainman's house qualifies for a sustainability museum. It looks radical enough from the outside, and then the inside wows you further but the rooftop finally drops your jaw and temporarily stops your breathing.

Here's the living room; the suspended lights are all powered by solar energy. Notice how well this room is lit without the lights being on. Notice also, that there are no ceiling fans. Having visited the house on a hot forenoon, I can testify that you don't really miss the fans.


We then move into the kitchen area. This piece of groupie-gloating-trivia has nothing to do with sustainability, but that sturdy little cycle you see in the pic was presented to Z by Angela Merkel.


And finally, the roof holds all the, if you'll excuse the cliché, pièces de résistance. This is where all the water is harvested and reused in ways I hadn't imagined was possible. On the roof is grown vegetables, chillies and, hold your breath, rice. Hold your breath again, 40 kilos of it, in a year!

The water runoff from the washing machine is caught here and purified using a plant called cattail that captures all the phosphates from the detergent and leaves the water pure enough for irrigation. Notice in the picture below, a glass bottle in which rainwater is being UV-treated (naturally) so that it becomes potable in a day or two.

There are other ways in which the water is stored and reused. Each of the containers has a story to tell. This one for example houses guppies so that mosquito larvae don't breed in the stagnant water.


If all this strikes you as an extreme way of life, you should thank your stars that I didn't feature the lavatories. As for me, I think I just saw what my dream home would look like.
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