worldFLEXhome House

Wuxi, China.
 

Owner: VIA University College Horsens
Address: Chr M Østergaards Vej 4, Horsens
Purpose: The worldFLEXhome prototype. Testfacility.
Year of construction: 2012
Size: 180m2
Construction: 40 feet, used shippingcontainers.
Contact information: Anders Bach-Sørensen, direktør, worldFLEXhome, Tel +45 2834 8096 abs@worldflexhome.com


Design concept

This prototype was designed to be flexible for individuals and various locations. Adequate lighting was an essential part of the design. Large windows and skylights were strategically located to optimize natural lighting and so the inhabitants could enjoy the nature around them. The house was designed so that it can be taken apart and relocated or the parts can be recycled. Healthy materials, such as certified paint (see sidebar), were used as well as, recyclable materials, such as plasterboards and insulation.  Care was taken to incorporate materials that will age well and not need to be readily replaced, such as massive floors, that can be sanded many times and will not require being changed and a green roof to maximize the life of the roof, slow water runoff, protect the roofing below and add insulation. Materials were used to minimize future maintenance, such as bamboo, which only requires oil treatment and aluminum window frames on the exterior, which require no treatments. The overall look of the house was designed to be minimalistic but playful.

The house is constructed using standard 40 feet (12.2 meters) high cubes

 

Homeowner design oriented

Online customization-tools give clients the possibility to decide their own version of the house in regards to the layout, size, facade, interior and so on. The company says, “All of the houses will be healthy, flexible and attractive, but designed with customization options.” 

Building-components are prefabricated and on site construction can be limited. The boxes take eight weeks to build in the factory and one and a half weeks on-site. The design allows for high-quality industrial production in large numbers and distribution using standard container transport. The house will be produced in China, and the initial sales will focus on the Chinese marked.

The house is designed to be a sustainable choice for the middleclass Chinese family, with initial cost and carrying costs important considerations.  The smallest house will be 80m2 and can be placed on small lots, maximizing the outdoor experience with the large openings in the house.

 

Developing the concept for the house

The prototype was built in the factory Nordisk Staal in Frederiksværk Denmark and was later moved to Horsens, Denmark where it will undergo a variety of studies. World FLEX Home developed this house as a solution for individual housing using alternative building methods. The house uses less energy than it produces, is built of old shipping containers and can be transported by land or sea.  It is a factory built product, with endless opportunities for individual customization, both in terms of climate, culture and style. It can be configured online and 16 weeks later the house can be moved into.

Although this prototype was built in Denmark, the first houses will be built in WUXI, China. They are a low carbon, resource conscious solution for that fast growing country.

The structure, which includes the containers, steel frame, and steel decks are strong enough to withstand earthquakes. All of the mechanical parts of the house are located in one room so that it can be adapted to different climates, requiring added ventilation, cooling or heating.

The project has been developed for World FLEX home in collaboration with a wide range of producers, Danish Technological Institute and technical advisors.

 

Low energy consumption

The house is well insulated with glasswoll insulation. Much of the energy required for the house is provided by the solar cells. In Denmark, where the house is currently situated, the PV panels are giving electricity back to the grid and obtain some energy back from the grid when it is required. It can also be supplied by ground heat for heating water and air with a geothermal system.

 

“Early in the development phase we could see that we had something special with this house, so therefore we applied for a patent on the concept” says The CEO from the World FLEX Home, says Anders Bach-Sørensen.

 

 

The future of the Prototype

There has been a great deal of interest in this first prototype. Approximately 275 people have visited this prototype. Anders Bach-Sørensen says  “We believe there is a need for a product/house like this one, whereby the house performs economically over a period of years instead of just considering its initial cost. Energy is becoming more expensive and this is something the homeowner should now care about.”

WorldFlexhome is hoping to mass-produce these houses, providing many families sustainable, energy efficient house options. The plan is to set up production on these homes so in the near future houses can be ordered and customized on-line.

The cost of the house is substantially less that a comparable house in size in Denmark. The company hopes the price will be competitive when they are sold in China in the future.