Slovakia-based company Nice Architects made some waves back in May with the unveiling of the Ecocapsule microhome. The company recently announced that the microshelter prototypes are done and it is now heading into its production phase.
The current prototype for the Ecocapsule measures 8.36 x 14.5 x 7.31 feet, with a total floor space of around 107 square feet, although usable space will be less because of installed furniture. Not only is it compact, but it is very ecofriendly, featuring solar cells and a wind turbine. The shelter's body is covered with 2.6-square meters, about 28 square feet, of high-efficiency solar cells and it has a retractable pole holding a 750W wind turbine. This creates an energy system that can support users almost year-round in many off-grid locations, the architects say.
"Ecocapsule is a low-energy house packed into a compact form. It merges an energy efficient shape, compact volume and off-grid capabilities with the luxuries of a warm bed, running water and a hot meal," says the company on its website. "Even though small in size, each Ecocapsule comfortably houses two adults. Its efficient spatial layout allows you to enjoy convenience of household facilities in off-grid conditions. Built-in kitchenette with running water, toilet and hot shower are luxuries of a hotel room that are now also available in wilderness."
Nice Architects itself says the house can comfortably hold two people. It features a small seating area and workspace, a bed, a kitchenette, and a bathroom area with a toilet and shower. There is a storage area that is accessible from the outside, and there are also a few windows to let in natural light.
On the roof of the Ecocapsule there is a series of solar cells for capturing energy from the sunlight (600-Watt capacity), as well as the wind turbine on a retractable pole. These both feed a high-capacity battery (9,744 Wh), ensuring that the user has enough power when there might not be much wind or sun. Because the Ecocapsule is spherical, when it rains water runs down the side and is collected at the bottom, to be used later. The Ecocapsule has a built-in water filter, making any water source drinkable. There's little information, however, about how the water filtration system will work.
The Ecocapsule will be available for preorder starting in the fourth quarter of this year, with deliveries expected in the first half of 2016. It is not yet known how much the Ecocapsule will cost; however, the price will be announced within the next few months. It fits inside a standard shipping container, the architects note, and can be shipped, airlifted, towed or even pulled by a pack animal. It weighs 1,500 kg, about 3,300 pounds.
Nice Architects also hopes to build different versions of the Ecocapsule, including a "camper" type version, making for easy transportation of the home. A chassis to transport the shelter should be available in late 2016.