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Title [sv]
Z free home
Title [en]
Z free home
Abstract [en]


The ‘Z free home’, target zero negative print on the environment is the idea of this project. A return to nature design concept for designing a residential unit towards a negative carbon and positive energy future. Construction time, building cost and environmental impact are the main triggers that this project is trying to challenge. The project aimed at designing and constructing a 9 m2 demo eco-cycle home prototype reaches a six ‘Z’ target (i.e. ‘6Zs’), meaning zero emissions, zero energy, zero waste, zero cost, zero indoor air pollutants and zero impact on the environment after the building demolition. The house main components (roof, walls and floors) together with interior furniture are to be built out of plant-based materials (mainly straw, reed, jute, kenaf and wood).

The house will be equipped with passive and eco-cycle systems aim at closing the loop so the building will be self-sufficient with no waste outcome or harmful impact on the environment nor the occupants. The house innovative design intends to eliminate the energy demands for heating, cooling and power needed for water heating and cooking by using natural forces from sun and wind together with household bio-waste. Such innovative passive and eco-cycle architectural design solutions is expecting to perform beyond the current energy efficient buildings and should roughly save up to 40 % of the household energy compared to the current international and Swedish standards for energy efficient housing.

The house design also is planned to be energy self-sufficient using renewable energy sources and to produce more energy than the house consumes to transport the excess back to the grid for later use in case there is a deficiency in energy production. The idea behind the passive eco-cycle systems that they should be low-tech and easy to install as plug and play systems for flexible use by the house users. Also, easy to operate and maintain along the life time of the building. The house prototype will be built and tested in an urban living lab for cold climate. Lund is chosen as a location for application. The project methodological approach is capable to be applied for hot and humid climate as well.

Publications (1 of 1) Show all publications
Dabaieh, M., Iarkov, I. & Rodil, K. (2023). The ‘Z-Free’ Home: A Circular Thinking and Eco-Cycle Design Practice. Energies, 16, 1-20, Article ID 6536.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The ‘Z-Free’ Home: A Circular Thinking and Eco-Cycle Design Practice
2023 (English)In: Energies, E-ISSN 1996-1073, Vol. 16, p. 1-20, article id 6536Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In recent years, the need for affordable sustainable housing has increased. At the same time, there has been a gradual rising interest in compact living. With the mounting impacts of climate change, a new way of thinking is needed to develop more resilient and climate responsive ways of living that are compact, affordable, and climate-conscious. In response to this need, the idea of a ‘Z-Free Home’ was born. The ‘Z-Free Home’ is a tiny mobile house equipped with essential passive and eco-cycle systems that achieves nine zero targets. The main design and construction concept is based on circular design and a return to nature life cycle principles. In this paper, the architectural design concept, building energy modelling, and simulation for the Z-Free Home design proposal is discussed. This paper describes the concept design and design development phases together with building modelling and simulation. A focus was made on the use of virtual reality in design development assessment as a new method for evaluating passive and eco-cycle systems. The results show that it’s possible to achieve nine different zero goals while the analysis illustrates the challenges in achieving them. The paper also described the next steps planned for the proof of concept, i.e., the 1:1 house model. The project is ongoing, and it aims at a full-scale physical prototype as a proof of concept for the zero targets. The ‘Z-Free Home’ is designed for the cold Swedish climate but could be more widely applicable in other mild climates as well as hot climates.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel, Switzerland: MDPI, 2023
Z-Free Home; eco-cycle; passive design; VR; nature-based design
National Category
Research subject
Urban studies; Sustainable studies
urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-63854 (URN)10.3390/en16186536 (DOI)001145300500001 ()2-s2.0-85172729691 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-11-24 Created: 2023-11-24 Last updated: 2024-02-26Bibliographically approved
Co-InvestigatorDabaieh, Marwa
Coordinating organisation
Malmö University
2021-01-01 - 2022-12-30
Keywords [sv]
hållbarhet, urbana studier
Keywords [en]
sustainability, urban studies
National Category
DiVA, id: project:3060

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