Imagine a treehouse that heats itself, now imagine a treehouse that not only stays warm (most of the time), but also produces more electricity than it uses. That is the concept behind the solar hooch- a backyard "Tower of Power" that can actually contribute to lowering your electrical bills. A well situated urban home should encourage lush vegetation and trees to shelter it from cold winds in the winter, and the hot sun in the summer. Consequently, there is a conspicuous shortage of clear, unobstructed windows of light from which can be collected thermal and photo-voltaic energy from the sun. Enter the backyard solar hooch. Perched on a single point, with cables to surrounding tree, the hooch provides a space for escape without infringing on the backyard space. High in the air, the hooch rises above the shadows cast upon the ground-from trees and buildings. With an unobstructed southern exposure, the solar hooch catches and stores solar heat through an abundance of south facing windows. The sun shines through upon a unique array of water filled aluminum cans that span the loft. With a days worth of solar thermal energy stored in the water, the bamboo mesh futon can be lowered over the storage for a night of warmth and comfort.
The south facing windows are augmented with large photo-voltaic panels that double as shutters that close over the glass and conserve all that valuable heat that was collected. The electricity generated is pumped back into the grid for use later- in the hooch, or in the real house-down below. The hooch becomes more than carbon-neutral- it actually contributes to ameliorating the carbon footprint of the real house.
Power aside, the hooch can serve as very comfortable refuge for the stressed, the weary, the solitude starved urban dweller. Do the Earth a favor, and find yourself in a hooch.
Labels: carbon neutral, eco-design, eco-tech, hooch, soar, treehouse