INTEGRA active house – First Serbian ecologically responsible house

November 29, 2017

Photo. The New Model
INTEGRA active house – First Serbian ecologically responsible house
  • Project: INTEGRA Active House
  • Country: Serbia
  • Project Phase: Readiness level, 3 prototypes ready to be tested in the natural environment

INTEGRA is an innovative, environmentally responsible, energy-independent and energy efficient, sustainable, prefabricated house made from natural materials. It has been designed in Serbia and is now ready to be tested in the natural environment. It can be installed in just two weeks.

Experts that have followed the development of the project call it the house of the future. It has been designed so that it can be installed on all kinds of terrain and in every surrounding. The INTEGRA active house is an affordable house with low running costs, paying for itself in 20 years.

The house is designed to offer an economic and healthy alternative to outdated models of construction and renovation in Serbia and the region. At the same time, it is an affordable, low-carbon solution that enables individuals, families and communities to actively participate in the process of adaptation to climate change, while living in harmony with the natural environment and with a reduced carbon footprint.

The project aims to integrate modern solutions in order to provide housing for various groups of users: From families with limited income and home owners in suburban and rural areas, to dedicated nature lovers. It could be used in residential or tourist complexes. The only drawback is that the house is not designed for urban environments.

INTEGRA house foundation - functionality
Photo 1. The base of INTEGRA house, the foundation of its functionality

Everyone has the right to decent housing

The house is also intended for use following natural disasters or changes in the environment, when it is necessary to immediately provide a viable and economically affordable low-carbon replacement or alternative to existing housing.

The initiative began as research project into the potential for developing an active house solution for the hundreds of families whose homes were destroyed by the devastating floods that hit Serbia and the region in 2014. The INTEGRA active house project is the work of the Novi Model team.

Convinced that modern technologies and solutions should enable everyone to benefit from decent housing, regardless of where they are or the conditions, the Novi Model team began to develop a concept for a high quality and fully functional housing unit that allows its residents a normal life in all conditions, even when the surrounding infrastructure has, for example, been destroyed by floods.

Energy efficiency – the sun as a source of light and heat

In order to merge useful and healthy components, and make it the real home of the future, the Novi Model team decided that their house, with total area of ​​55 m2 (11m x 5m), should not only be functional but environment friendly. They wanted it to be energy efficient, to combine the highest ecological standards and to use active energy sources.

The house is designed to use the sun as a source of light and heat to the maximum extent. To do this, the house is designed to always be positioned to face south, regardless of the terrain. With its relatively small size and properly positioned windows, this helps save energy. Hot water for the kitchen and bathroom is provided by solar collectors. It is equipped with a wood burning furnace that achieves high-quality combustion.

INTEGRA House, natural materials
Photo 2. The whole house was built of natural materials – wood and pressed reeds

Made from natural materials – wood and pressed reeds

The INTEGRA active house is an innovative model, with construction based on natural wood and pressed reed materials. The house is equipped with these low-tech solutions that contribute to overall savings and, at the same time, make it accessible to all. It also has built-in technology for quality control of the interior living conditions.

While working on the prototype of the house, the Novi Model team is also designing an application to enable the house to communicate with its residents, providing useful information such as the amount of energy used or saved, and the amount of carbon emissions the house is producing.

The natural materials used to construct the house, and the house’s environmental and energy solutions, as well as its adaptability to every kind of terrain, make the INTEGRA active house very accessible. With minimal energy and maintenance costs, the house will pay for itself over time. The projected price of the INTEGRA active house is equal to twenty years’ worth of energy bills for a conventional 55 m2 house.

Next steps

The Novi Model team is actively preparing to test the INTEGRA active house prototype.

“Our project is now at the readiness stage, where everything has been resolved and we only have to test how our house will operate in the real environment,” Tatjana Stratimirovic, co-founder of Novi Model and architect behind the INTEGRA active house, told the Balkan Green Energy News portal.

“This project is a unique solution for a new generation, with a design that reduces maintenance costs. These savings are such that in twenty-five years they allow residents to buy another INTEGRA house,” explained Stratimirović. She added that her team will soon test several prototypes: one in Montenegro, the other in northern Serbia, on the border with Hungary, and the third in the vicinity of Šabac. They are also trying to reach an agreement on one location in southern Serbia.

INTEGRA House, enterier
Photo 3. INTEGRA active house – the first Serbian innovative ecologically responsible housing unit, total area of ​​55 m2

The INTEGRA active house is one of the finalists of the Generator competition, organized by Societe General Bank in Serbia.