The single ecopod as designed provides excellent short term accommodation that has great benefits for standalone use as a secure remote cabin, product showroom or as an accessory building in conjunction with existing buildings for use as an extra Bedroom or Bunkie, Garden suite, Home office, Day kitchen or just an extra room down by the lake. Operating with an 80 watt solar panel and minimal electrical needs there is no need to run power lines or trench power cables to the unit, it’s ready to use minutes after setup. The secure nature of the ecopod when in the closed position provides protection against vandals and works excellent in areas where extreme weather conditions exist. The ecopods are quick to set up and easily transported with all unit modifications re-surveyed to international transportation standards.
Some jurisdictions have minimum floor space as well as other requirements that need to be met if applying for a building permit when used as a standalone building however obtaining a permit should not be an issue when used as an accessory building in conjunction with an established building site.
Ecopods.ca is committed to developing an eco-friendly building for recreational, residential or commercial use. To that end, we are constantly including to the new building process materials that offer the best in environmental responsibility and overall building quality. We believe ecopods.ca incorporates the best use of recycled and new environmentally friendly materials available today that are ideal for off grid building applications.
We have built and tested a number of early prototypes units and are currently building our fourth generation. The new generation ecopod will combine new design and building techniques as well as incorporating new eco-friendly building materials that will ultimately give us a building with greater environmental efficiency and options of expanded floor plans that meet minimum square foot building code requirements for standalone use. Low environmental footprint, minimal operating cost and high quality of living at an affordable price is our objective. Pre-delivery square foot building costs between $100 / $150 are our targets that provide a superior green building that competes with conventional building costs.
The ecopods outer shell
A standard 8’x20’ steel shipping container creates the building platform, main shell and structure of the ecopod. Large quantities of sea containers are stock piled in many North American cities due to a trade imbalance between the east and west. In some cases these stock piles are stacked so high that they are blocking out the early afternoon sun next to residential neighbourhoods.
Steel is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly of building material due to its natural abundance and the simple fact that it is always 100% eternally recyclable. It’s not likely to become a waste material in the future. Virtually all steel ever produced by mankind is still used again and again and considered a valuable metal even as scrap. It is one of the few building materials that can be easily recycled for the very same uses for an unlimited number of times and impacts on the environment only when it was first created. Most other recyclable material will end up as waste at some point and are not generally reused again for the same purpose originally created, mined, refined and/or harvested. Steel on the other hand is an eternal resource that remains forever useful for future generations thus impacting on the environment less from its perpetual existence than many renewable resources which must be recreated each time they are needed.
The ecopods floor covering
ECOsurfaces flooring is comprised of post-consumer tire rubber and ColorMill EPDM, made from pre-consumer waste and organic fillers. These materials are bound together using a water based polyurethane polymer. The entire product line is produced using a low embodied energy manufacturing process that requires minimal water, avoids heat and reuses in-line scrap to decrease waste. The result is beautiful, environmentally savvy flooring that passes the strictest tests for indoor air quality, low-VOC emissions and is recyclable. ECOsurfaces flooring can assist specifiers by contributing toward earning 9 LEED points.
The ecopods interior walls
Magnesiacore Technology uses proprietary processes with magnesium oxide compounds to deliver a multi-purpose, versatile, non-combustible, and unique board material. This integral, hard, inert and paperless construction panel has superior characteristics over panels made from gypsum, cement, clay or wood and paper particles. Magnesiacore provides FULL LEED credit for all uses. Magnesium Oxide (MgO) is the principle component of Magnesiacore, making up 60% by weight. MgO is the common molecule of magnesium (Mg), which exists naturally everywhere in the environment. The earth’s crust is 2% magnesium by weight and is the third most common element suspended in seawater combined with oxygen as MgO.
The ecopods insulation
This soy-based product is water-blown into walls and ceilings cavities to provide excellent thermal protection to the ecopod. The soy bean oil is produced by farms here in the North America.
It contains no harmful and irritating particulate matter or formaldehyde. It does not promote mold growth nor provide a food source for insects or rodents. It also reduces airborne noise pollution from entering. It is Class 1 fire rated and will char but will not sustain a flame.
It provides the ecopod with an air tight seal and retains its structural integrity over time, therefore providing a highly energy efficient building. R-values range depend on the thickness, with an average of 1” of insulation the ecopods walls have an R-value of R-9.
The ecopods interior wall finish
Supertherm is a unique single component combination of high performance aliphatic urethanes, elastomeric acrylics, standard acrylics and resin additives in a water borne formula. No co-solvents are present and dry’s by evaporation. Supertherm was built to meet the requirements of industrial uses which required a tough surface, and provide flexibility against stresses of contraction and expansion. Supertherm is designed with four separate ceramic compounds for insulation from radiant heat, reflection, conduction and convection. Supertherm ceramics are ground to form microscopic spheres. The spherical shape permits the 4 types of ceramics to settle very tight together, not allowing air to interact between the ceramics; thus “plating”. Supertherm multi~ceramic insulation coating blocks 96% of the three sources of heat – visual light, ultra violet rays and infrared rays. The Supertherm is tinted to a choice of light earth tone colours which is applied over the Magnesiacore wall panels for the finished surface and increasing the ecopods R value to R-28.
The ecopods Flip door/deck
One entire 20’ side wall of the ecopod has been designed to be raised or lowered by 2 hydraulic cylinders. The 12 volt hydraulic pump is powered by the battery. When leaving the ecopod for extended periods you simply raise the hinged deck into the wall position via the handheld remote providing the ecopod with the most secure building protection against vandals and extreme weather. When lowered to the deck position a 20’ wall of double glassed thermal glass sliding doors gives you the ultimate picture window.
The ecopod started its first life as a shipping container and traveled most likely half way around the globe before our conversion to the Ecopod. When the added hinged deck is raised the ecopod resumes to the original strength and design that was engineered into the original structure. It was our intention for the Ecopod to work off grid, although you can use it either way.
We first cut one twenty foot side of the shipping container out and remanufactured the steel skin into a deck that was then hinged back to the unit with six custom designed off set hinges that allow the deck to lay flat and fit into its original position when closed. The deck is fairly heavy, so we engineered a hydraulic piece of equipment that incorporates the use of a 12 volt hydraulic pump that is powered by the 12 volt battery. The battery gets its power from the solar panel. If you are leaving the ecopod for an extended period of time you can close the deck by flipping the electrical panel switch to supply the power to the pump and with a handheld remote you press the up button to close the side of the ecopod. It takes about a minute to close and when you lock the back doors the pod is converted back to the original strength and durability of the original design. There is no conventional constructed building on the market that can compare to the strength and durability of the ecopod.
Maintenance on the unit requires very little effort. The original steel walls and frame are made from a product called corten steel. Corten steel has a rust inhibitor that stops rust at the surface. The interior and exterior floor surfaces are covered with a product that looks and feels very similar to cork flooring but is made from recycled car tires. This product has excellent interior and exterior performance qualities and is impervious to water and easy to keep clean. The entire wall and ceiling cavities have been spray foamed insulated with the latest environmental friendly soya insulation available on the market today. It is a ridged closed cell insulation, closed cell meaning there is no moister transfer. All interior walls come clad with Magnesiacore and coated with Supertherm. The front sliding glass doors and front glass side panels are double glazed thermal pane units that allow you to enjoy four season weather conditions. We have equipped the pod with two wall outlets that can supply power from the 12 volt battery through the inverter or are switchable to 120volts if you have access to house or generator power. An 80 watt solar panel and 12 volt battery are included.