A group of Japanese student from Waseda University have created a prototype home that’s heated by the process of fermentation. Called “A Recipe To Live”, the project was developed by three students – Masaki Ogasawara, Keisuke Tsukada and Erika Mikami – who were responsible for this unusual, but innovation heating system.
The house provides it’s own heat source through agricultural fermentation. The walls of the house are lined and insulated with straw bales. The dried straw is contained within acrylic cases (the translucent plastic stuff seen in the pictures) and allowed compost using the Japanese “bokashi” method. Microbial fermentation involves exothermic reactions that can heat the house to 30° Celsius over a period of 4 weeks.
During the summer months the straw is allowed to dry out, releasing moisture that helps to reduce the internal temperature. The downside to this green heating system is that the straw walls need to be replaced several times throughout the year. The upside? You’ll have a renewable, next to zero embodied energy heating system with bills to match its carbon footprint.
There are probably some other concerns regarding the release of moisture during the summer, but I’m sure good design would be able to overcome it. The prototype straw-heated house can be found in the coastal town of Taiko-cho, Hokkaido.
If you liked this post you might like other natural building projects such as this amazing prefab housing imitative in Thailand, or this article on rebuilding Haiti with adobe Konbit shelters.
What’s your ideal heating system?