Self-sustainable structures are designed to be installed anywhere from the mountains to the beach, and are particularly useful in areas where the access to infrastructure is limited or nonexistent.
Portuguese architectural company Cannatá & Fernandes' new Self-Sustained Modules stand three metres wide by nine metres long, offering 27 squares metres of multifunctional space. The architects’ aim was to develop a module that can serve a variety of functions, from temporary housing, to serving as an environmental observatory, a fire outpost, a bar, or a small store.
The architects said each module can be made using of new materials and technologies, enabling greater energy control and offering different levels of durability and lightness to suit their environment.
The modules feature an energy production system that includes photovoltaic panels, low level fluorescent lamps, an advanced lighting control system, general use electrical plugs, phones, a security alarm, and a protection system.
The solar panels can provide 2.2 watts of energy, while solar batteries can store excess energy. A hybrid inverter allows the modules to be connected to a diesel generator. Water heating is supplied through a solar panel.
While the module features a toilet and a small kitchen, it is able to work completely off-grid.
The units have a portable vacuum water system to help conserve water. At one litre per flush, the toilets use 90 per cent less water than conventional toilets.
The units can be completely prefabricated off-site and transported to place by truck or helicopter, limiting the impact construction has on the environment and reducing construction costs in remote areas.
As with many other prefabricated and pre-assembled units, the modules can be moved to new locations and reused.