The reACT home produces food, generates energy and self-regulates its user systems

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Ticking off the usual ‘boxes’ of sustainability, like the low-impact modular design and solar power credentials, the reACT home does one better by integrating a range of green technologies that go beyond the user convenience to actually account for tangible productivity. To that end, reACT, used as an acronym for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology, is not only self-sufficient in its energy needs but can also produce its clean power and food, along with boasting self-regulating features that learn from the lifestyle of its residents.

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Designed by the students at the University of Maryland, the reACT house was contrived for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also hail from the community of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. Pertaining to the latter, the residence rather mirrors the Native American penchant for pliancy and self-sufficiency and pliancy, with the integration of hydroponic farming, conventional vegetable garden and movable walls that allow the users to modify their living space. As the young designers aptly put it forth in a succinct manner –

Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better-built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes.

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This ambit of adaptability is ‘reflected’ by the operable glass roof and walls of the central courtyard. For example, while they primarily function as systems that induct natural light into the residence, they also double up as agents of solar heat collector. A complimentary photovoltaic array, in turn, harvests the sun’s energy and stores it in an on-site battery system (with the residents having the option to sell the extra energy back into the grid). The solar energy system is accompanied by a water treatment installation (for both rainwater and gray water collection) and indoor gardening mechanisms aided by composting toilets.

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But the ‘piece de resistance’ of the reACT house arguably relates to the aforementioned self-regulating building system driven by various automated features. These can be programmed by the inhabitants to become more energy efficient over time, with the AI having the capacity to learn and adapt from the intrinsic lifestyles of the inhabitants. As the designers wrote –

This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency, power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.

The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition.

Source: Inhabitat / Images Credit Mike Chino

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