Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Thai architect hits on blueprint for sustainable living in the tropics

n a gated community just outside the teeming megalopolis of Bangkok, Soontorn Boonyatikarn's three-bedroom home appears much like any other, with the solar panelling on the roof the only hint that something out of the ordinary lies beneath.

Soontorn calls this home a blueprint for sustainable living in the tropics: the unassuming house is 15 times more energy efficient than its neighbours, produces enough surplus electricity to power a car and creates its own water-supply and cooking gas.

"This house is a dream house for the future," says the architect, who challenged himself to build a self-sufficient dwelling in Thailand three years ago and has now been living in it for six months.

To meet his goal, Soontorn needed to design a house which had energy needs that could be met by solar panels squeezed onto its roof -- one fifteenth the area required to supply a typical house with solar energy.


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