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The 22-square-meter Tiny House
Yale School of Architecture and UN Environment unveil Eco Living Module
UN Environment and Yale University — in collaboration with UN-Habitat —
unveiled a new eco-housing module to spark public discussion and new
ideas on how sustainable design can provide decent, affordable housing
while limiting the overuse of natural resources and climate change.
The 22-square-meter "tiny house” is fully powered by renewable
energy and designed to test the potential for minimizing the use of
natural resources such as water.
The Ecological Living Module, unveiled during the United Nations
High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, is constructed
primarily from locally-sourced, bio-based renewable materials. The first
demonstration unit is on view in the UN Plaza in New York City through
The Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture worked with Gray
Organschi Architecture to design, fabricate, and install the Ecological
Living Module. The unit is efficient and multi-functional, accommodating
up to four people, serving both domestic and commercial purposes.
"We clearly need more housing, but the key thing is that we also
need smarter housing” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. "The
housing sector uses 40% of the planet’s total resources and represents
more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Making them more
efficient will benefit everyone, and it will mean lower bills, too.
Innovations like the Ecological Living Module are what we need more of.”
"Adequate housing is at the heart of sustainable urbanization,”
said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat. "The use of
proper building materials, better planning, and improved construction
techniques can make energy use in buildings more efficient. If adopted
widely, this practice can create jobs and prosperity with lower
greenhouse gas emissions.”
Engineered to operate independently, the module’s built-in systems
include solar energy generation using less than 1% of toxic
semiconductor materials, on-site water collection, micro agricultural
infrastructure, natural daylighting, plant-based air purification,
passive cross-ventilation, and a range of flexible, adaptable components
for living and working.
About 1 billion people worldwide currently live in informal
settlements, while millions more live in buildings that are not
environmentally friendly, note the officials. Rapid urbanization and
economic growth challenge communities to sustainably expand capacity,
heightening the need for innovation in building systems and
infrastructure, they say.
"Architecture must address the global housing challenge by
integrating critically needed scientific and technical advances in
energy, water, and material systems while remaining sensitive to the
cultural and aesthetic aspirations of different regions,” said Deborah
Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture.
he demonstration unit in the UN Plaza contains features relevant to
the local climate and context of New York. Future iterations of the
module — including one in Kenya, the home of UN Environment — will
respond specifically to local climatic and cultural contexts.
provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the
environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to
improve their quality of life without compromising that of future
generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector,
civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations
across the world.
Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture
The Center for Ecosystems in Architecture
(CEA), founded by Anna Dyson, is a multidisciplinary research venture
led by the Yale School of Architecture and the Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies. Its goal is to develop transformative
systems for the built environment. Alongside its partners in the
architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) Industry, CEA seeks to
address the complexity of transitioning global construction patterns by
bringing together deep expertise of current practices with radically
new socio-economic and technical approaches. CEA prioritizes the
requirements of living ecosystems towards buildings and cities that
support biodiversity with an integrated approach to clean energy, water,
air and material life cycles.
Gray Organschi Architecture
Gray Organschi Architecture
(GOA) is a multidisciplinary firm that explores the intersection of
design and building production. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, GOA has
developed an award-winning practice that integrates architectural
design, collaborative research, low-impact ecologically-conscious
construction techniques, building fabrication, and construction
management. GOA’s projects range in scale and scope from the development
of hardware, furniture, and building assembly systems to the design of
buildings for evolving institutions, private clients, developers, and
municipalities. Alan Organschi is on the faculty of the Yale School of
Architecture and coordinates the Yale Building Project.
is the United Nations program working towards a better urban future.
Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human
settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for
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