Sausalito, CA Floating Homes

Sausalito, CA Floating Homes

I was lucky enough to enjoy a visit to Sausalito’s floating homes this weekend.  I was delighted by the aesthetic and concept of living on the water, which got me thinking about whether the environmental impact of living on the water in a floating home or houseboat as compared to living on the land as most of us do.  While I don’t have a definitive answer, I think there are definite benefits and sustainability upsides to a floating lifestyle, including the following:

  1. Floating homes are on average much smaller than landed homes, so must use fewer resources like electricity and home furnishings.  I love the idea of living in as few rooms as possible, so this is a selling point for me.
  2. Today’s generation of floating homes are made specifically taking climate change into mind.  Dutch firm DuraVermeer is leading the movement building both floating and amphibious homes that can weather Holland’s flooding problems.  In the Netherlands where nearly half the country is below sea level, flooding is a great concern.  That said, most coastal regions should be concerned by the potential for rising sea levels.  And floating homes should stand flooding better than others given the contruction allows for a rise and fall. While I admire this innovation, I can’t stop thinking of Wall-E…
  3. The last point I wanted to make about floating homes is largely anecdotal.  A friend who lives in one of these gorgeous floating wonders suggested the homes are often build of recycled and reclaimed materials.  Google searching on this topic brought up one story from Brazil where a floating home made almost entirely of trash was preserved as a model of recycling.  I think there is something to designing a different kind of house that floats, that may capture the imagination and encourage green innovations, such as this home, which boast:
Urbansun Floating Home

Urbansun Floating Home

1,200 square foot “near net zero energy” home. The small size of the home, combined with a well-insulated and designed envelope, and a combined ventilation/energy recovery system will significantly reduce energy use. Innovative features include a micro-hydro system that capitalizes on the steady flow of the Columbia River and passive and active solar elements. High post-consumer recycled content engineering wood and salvaged and certified sustainably harvested lumber will make up a significant proportion of the home and rooftop greenhouse. The greenhouse will be irrigated with harvested rainwater.

To see more, go to:

http://blog.buildllc.com/2008/07/04/floating-houses/

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