Surfer’s Home to Use Waves for Power

Tide powered house - image from Margot Krasojevics
Tide powered house – image by Margot Krasojevics

Surfers in South Africa asked architect Margot Krasojevics to design them a home by the sea.  She designed them a house that rides the waves like its owners.  

Construction on the concrete home that will be anchored into the rocky coastline will start next year.  Inside the bunker will be an inner shell made of aluminum that will float on the waves.  In other words, the house, or at least part of it, will be riding the waves.

Tide power will be harnessed in two ways.  The first generator will be comprised of aluminum chambers that will compress trapped air brought in by a breaking wave and bring it into an electric turbine, generating power.  The other will make use of the water movements to move neodymium magnets through copper wire, producing current with the wave’s oscillation.

The building will also have solar panels, but tidal power is more predictable.  After all, tide tables have been around for quite some time and tell us when exactly to expect the tides to come and go.

But while smart materials and clean technology are becoming mainstream for commercial buildings and factories, residential architecture has been slower to adopt these technologies, says Krasojevics.  She says, “”Renewable energy and sustainability are still not an inherent part of the design criteria and process within architecture. It is a polite afterthought at best.”

She further believes that tidal-powered housing will become more popular, some of which will float on water to cope with rising sea levels.  For this to happen, architects and engineers must work more closely.  In fact, it should be just a matter of time.  “Land and life is being lost as a result of rising water levels … climate change and financial pressures affect all of us and we need to adapt, this will involve new environments to claim. The face of the built environment is changing, and with it, so should buildings,” she added.

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