Around 42 per cent of the Earth’s land is used for farming. We’re dependent on this practice to survive despite the fact that farming is the single most powerful driver of deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. In our own homes, our energy and food consumption makes up 66 per cent of our environmental impact. A new set of resilient solutions will have to be implemented if we’re to live sustainably.
The technology needed to build self-sustaining communities is available, says Danish architectural firm EFFEKT. According to their website, a new model could be based on five pillars: “Energy positive homes. Door-step high-yield organic food production. Mixed renewable energy and storage. Water and waste recycling. Empowerment of local communities.”
These pillars make up the foundation of ReGen Villages, a community of off-grid, integrated and resilient neighbourhoods that power and feed self-reliant families around the world.
At ReGen, which stands for regenerative, the outputs of one system are the inputs for another. For example, non-compostable bio-waste would be used to create biogas. “The concept has a holistic approach and combines a variety of innovative technologies, such as energy positive homes, renewable energy, energy storage, local organic food production, vertical farming aquaponics/aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resource systems,” writes EFFEKT.
The shared local eco-system would be made up of homes, a vertical aquaponics centre, a biogas facility, electric car charging stations, other waste-to-resource systems, a livestock centre, communal dining areas, playgrounds, and community learning centres. This would all be powered by photovoltaic solar panels and integrated through public spaces.
“But ReGen Villages is not only about reducing environmental impact and national burdens. It is also about creating,” writes the company. “Creating a better model for a sustainable future, where the current living standards can be sustained by thinking smarter, not only smaller.”
The first ReGen Village pilot community is expected to be developed in Almere in the Netherlands, with 100 homes breaking ground later this year.