Architect/engineer Werner Sobek's latest creation, a prototype of a modular home that generates twice as much energy as it uses, is featured in a CNN piece this week. The 900-square-foot Aktivhaus dwelling in Stuttgart, Germany, can be assembled in a single day. It is designed to produce no emissions or waste and derive no energy from fossil fuel, a standard that Sobek refers to as "Triple Zero." The house is packed with energy-efficient features, including a rooftop solar system that produces electricity and heat, and a thermal-regulation system linked to an underground ice storage tank.
"In summer, the ice is used to cool the house. By melting, it absorbs heat energy," Sobek says. "In winter, it gradually freezes. Each time a chunk of water turns into ice, a certain amount of heat energy is released, which is then used to heat the house via a heat pump, which brings the energy to a higher temperature level."