In turbulent times, the idea of going off-grid possesses a certain romantic appeal. However, it also comes with implications of hardship, deprivation and the need for high-level handyman skills. Until now.
Slovakian firm Nice Architects has combined transportable, off-grid living with ‘hotel room’-level comfort in their new microhome. Called Ecocapsule, the egg-shaped smart home is entirely self-sustaining, with mounted solar panels and an integrated wind turbine able to cover residents’ electricity needs.
For those who have previously been interested in the tiny-house lifestyle, two of the hurdles have been the construction and ongoing maintenance of these smart micro-structures. While the solar and wind power elements of Ecocapsule go a long way towards addressing the latter, the fact that the Ecocapsule comes entirely pre-made takes care of the former.
Nice Architecture’s interior floorplan is understandably small, but not cramped. The Ecocapsule is capable of accommodating between one and two people, and is able to function for almost a full year off the grid. As well as the power-producing components of the pod, it is also capable of producing both grey water and drinking water. The dome-shaped shell aids in the collection of rainwater, while in-built filters make it safe for inhabitants to use almost any source of water. The in-built toilet is waterless, composting and self-separating.
The scale of interior features is far from elaborate, but comprehensive enough to be functional and liveable. A bedroom, kitchenette, workspace, dining room and ensuite bathroom have all been accommodated within the design.
The diminutive size of the home – measuring 2.5 metres in height, 2 metres in length and 4.5 metres in width – means it is capable of being transported via truck or boat. It is also equipped with four wheels, allowing owners to roll or rotate it with ease (so long as the surface is smooth).
If you’ve ever wanted to live on top of a mountain or in the middle of a desert, the Ecocapsule is easily capable of facilitating the hermit lifestyle. If you want to live off-grid while remaining plugged into the city centre, the Ecocapsule makes it just as easy. Nice Architects suggest that the Ecocapsule “can be used as an urban dwelling for singles in high-rent, high-income areas like [New York] or Silicone Valley. It can be placed on the rooftop or [in a] vacant parking lot.” It is also able to provide accommodation to the populations of disaster relief areas.
Far less surprising than the incredible adaptability of the Ecocapsule is the fact that it costs a fraction of the price of most Australian real estate. Nice Architecture has begun selling their pre-made pods for approximately $121,000 Australian, with shipping available for an additional €1,900.
This, and the fact you no longer need to learn how to build your own composting toilet, is definitely a step towards making off-grid living more accessible to the general population.