By Jody McCutcheon
Who doesn’t dream of living near water? Imagine waking up to the sound of lapping waves and the smell of sea salt. Well, now you can stay literally right on the water. What’s more, you can do it sustainably, in comfort and luxury. And you have choices: you can do it in a houseboat, a yacht or an over-water luxury resort. Any of these three sustainable homes on water are now easy on your sensibilities and even easier on the environment…though they may not be that easy on the pocketbook. But just think: if climate change leads to rises in sea levels, you’re all set!
In Holland, houseboat living isn’t uncommon; while in other cities, living on a houseboat can be cheaper than paying rent on land. That fact puts Waterlovt and their eco-houseboats ahead of the curve.
Do you prefer one or two floors? Two or four bedrooms? Waterlovt lets you custom-create your own houseboat, up to 240 square metres in size, constructed with modular components from easily recycled natural materials. On the water, you’ll be self-sufficient, functioning independently of on-shore utilities.
Solar panels charge during the day, generating about 3.5kW of electricity per hour—enough to power onboard air conditioner, washing machine and television—while charging the battery that supplies backup and nightly power. A desalination unit makes seawater drinkable, while a sewage treatment system provides ecological treatment of waste for discharge into open water, not to mention conversion of organic waste into energy.
Entertainment features include home cinema, satellite TV in all rooms, and audio systems boasting streaming music. Comfort on the water has never been so gentle on the water.
Orsos Island Yacht
It’s engine-less, but it goes wherever you want to go! Arrange your own tow by tug or cargo ship, or let Orsos Island make the arrangements for you. Once you arrive at the secluded bay of your choice, anchors away! Best of all, you’ll leave a minimal eco-footprint at your destination.
The Orsos Island eco-yacht offers up to one thousand square metres of total living space, which compares to some 50–60m yachts, and accommodates twelve passengers. The main deck offers kitchen, living and dining rooms, while the lower deck boasts a recreation area and cinema hall. Store your jet skis and boat in the yacht’s garage while making liberal use of the sun deck and Jacuzzi.
Harnessing solar and wind power, Orsos Island creates its own electricity, more than making up for the energy spent on the tow to your destination. Heat is gained via recovery system from ocean water, while excess energy goes to making salt water drinkable. Get out on the ocean, motor-free!
The world’s first fully solar-powered, five-star resort couldn’t be more timely. Finolhu Villas achieves carbon neutrality, which helps slow global warming, thus mitigating rising sea levels. That’s great for a resort located on Kaafu Atoll in the Maldives, the place with the lowest average ground level in the world.
The Club-Med–sponsored, overwater resort designed by NYC-based firm Yuji Yamazaki Architecture accommodates up to 100 guests year-round. Each villa boasts its own private beach, pool and sunrise or sunset view, and utilizes passive energy principles to minimize energy consumption. These luxurious spaces can be rented whilst you’re on holiday, or if you’re after a more permanent slice of paradise, they’re also for sale.
The resort is powered by 67,000 square feet of solar panels visibly integrated into its design. A storage battery generates about a megawatt of electricity on a sunny day, which is enough to support the maximum number of guests and staff, with enough left over for rainy days. A desalination tank allows the island to maintain water self-sufficiency and waste-management efficiency, while minimizing erosion through landscaping.
You can stay at the resort to test it out, and if you really love it, individual units sold as sustainable homes will be up for sale in 2017.