University unveils the Cube, World’s smallest eco-friendly home

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK have developed a carbon-neutral compact home called the Cube, which is being showcased at Edinburgh Science Festival.

Conceived, designed and managed by Dr Mike Page, engineer and Reader in Cognitive Psychology at the University’s School of Psychology, the Cube is said to be the world’s smallest eco-home, featuring an internal space of 3x3x3 metres. Built from sustainable materials with the predominance of wood, the Cube is designed to be comfortable and includes a host of advanced products with low energy use.

The Cube includes a lounge with a table and two custom-made chairs; a small 120cm wide double bed; a full-size shower; a kitchen with energy-efficient fridge, induction hob, re-circulating cooker hood, sink/drainer, combination microwave oven and storage cupboards; a washing machine; and a composting toilet.

The Cube is illuminated with ultra-efficient LED lights and heated using an Ecodan air-source heat pump with heat recovered from extracted air. It features cork flooring with two-metre head height throughout.

The Cube is insulated with a timber-frame shell, interior surfaces of birch plywood, and sweet-chestnut cladding on the exterior. It features a south-facing monopitch roof covered with solar panels. The south wall is also covered with solar panels. This generating capacity is expected to make the Cube carbon-neutral over the year.

If registered for the UK Government’s feed-in tariff, the Cube would have no utility bills and would raise around £1,000 ($1, 625.3) per year in income.

The Edinburgh Science Festival is being held from 9 – 23 April 2011 in St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh.

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