‘Green Man’ Matthias Gelber builds Malaysia’s first zero-energy, carbon neutral house
A group of like-minded individuals from Malaysia and around the world are taking positive steps to reduce carbon emissions by modernising the traditional Malaysian kampung house and making it both available and affordable for Malaysians. Championed by sustainable advocate, Matthias Gelber (Internationally known as ‘The Green Man’) and his team embarked on a mission to build Malaysia’s first ever extreme zero energy, completely off-grid, carbon neutral and affordable house which, aptly called the ‘GreenMan Tiny Home’.
Construction of the prototype began in September 2016 at the Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) and was completed in February 2017 – just in time to introduce the newly built Tiny Home to 50,000 visitors at the Hari Kraf Kebangsan (HKK) 2017 event at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur. Visitors can check out the GreenMan Tiny Home at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex where it will be on display until 15 March 2017. On 15 March, the Tiny Home will be moved to the Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) at Jalan Chan Sow Lin but will still remain open to the public.
The design of the GreenMan Tiny Home was inspired by traditional kampung-style houses which were built using eco-friendly materials and raised above the ground to keep the interior cool in the tropical heat. Innovative functions of the Tiny Home include rainwater harvesting, solar power, a bacterial toilet and many other unique inclusions that make this the only transportable, completely off-grid residence in Malaysia.
The GreenMan Tiny home has been created to embody the seven components of circular architecture:-
- Resident – The provision of space and furnishings have been carefully selected to satisfy the lifestyle requirements of the occupant.
- Region – Construction materials and methods have been chosen to address local climatic requirements.
- Reduction – the use of high energy consuming climate control systems and wasted space has been eliminated.
- Recovery – The use of rainwater harvesting and solar power removes the need for electrical and water connections. Grey and black water treatment systems provide nutrients for fruit and vegetables.
- Recycle – local and international students have collected discarded items and materials that have been used to manufacture the furniture, air diffusers, light fixtures and accessories.
- Repair – Discarded computer fans and even a car water pump has been collected and repaired. These items make up the components of the Tiny Home’s ventilation and water distribution systems.
- Replenish – The GreenMan Tiny home is not only carbon neutral in its construction, it has a zero- carbon footprint in its daily use. This unique combination contributes to the replenishment and repair of Mother Earth.
The compact size of the Tiny Home takes into account the minimum space required for unhindered movement and daily activities. The house has an overall footprint size of only 2.5m X 4.5m and a floor space of 120 square feet, which makes it slightly smaller than a standard parking lot.
The parking lot-sized development was a crowd-sourced effort by several Malaysian construction industry players who all share a commitment to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle in Malaysia.