BY: ROB HOFFMAN
A bunch of students from Clemson University just designed and produced a carbon neutral prefab solar-house named Indigo Pine, designed to snap together without any nails, and erectable in under a week.
Solar panels spread out across the structure’s roof to supply 100% renewable energy, with an outer frame of white aluminum composite metal windows and panels that reflect the sun and help keep the home cool. However the most interesting aspect of the home is that it is constructed using CNC milling files—essentially blueprints that a computer can process—that are sent to a machine that cuts the design into assemble-able plywood puzzle pieces that can be constructed by the average person without the use of nails or power tools. The pieces of plywood instead snap into each other using tabs and slots. As Inhabitat notes, this means that the house is literally “e-mailable.”
Rather than being nailed together, the materials are CNC milled to snap together like puzzle pieces.
This is important not only for convenience, but also for eliminating the carbon emissions that would otherwise permeate the air from automotive transportation. As associate professor, Dan Harding, tells Independent Mail, “We’re still in the process of working this out, but this is something that doesn’t have to be delivered on an 18-wheeler; it can be e-mailed to Irvine.” In fact, the house can be assembled solely using materials you could easily find at your local Home Depot.
The house can be assembled solely using materials you could easily find at your local Home Depot.
Indigo Pine’s plan was designed for Clemson’s submission for this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Irvine, California—a competition between 20 universities to produce the best solar-powered homes with an emphasis on low-cost and environmental impact. At 970 square feet, the house contains three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, a porch and living-room. Indigo Pine also proudly maintains a carbon footprint of zero. David Suzuki would be proud.
Indigo Pine also proudly maintains a carbon footprint of zero.
As the innovators from Clemson tell Inhabitat, “Because the house exists largely as a set of digital files, the plans can be sent anywhere in the world, constructed using local materials, adapted to the site, and influenced by local culture.” Indigo Pine, therefore, is yet another step forward into a bright future of cheap, functional housing, and a giant leap away from the greedy fingers of big property development companies and soaring housing prices.