Self-Sufficient Eco-Village to Begin Construction in the Netherlands This Summer

May 31, 2016 | Reece Alvarez

Concept art for eco-village in Almere, Netherlands
Photo credit: Illustration © EFFEKT

Here's how two companies aim to disrupt the housing industry and save the world.

Due humanity’s growing population and its impact on the global ecosystem, the world is facing the unprecedented problem of sustaining itself without destroying the environment.

As the California residential real estate development company, ReGen Villages frames it, climate change is the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time. Humans are emitting 150 times more greenhouse gasses than a hundred years ago, a figure that continues to increase quickly and exponentially with a growing world population and emerging middle class.

By 2050 nearly 10 billion people will live on Earth, and already precious water, healthy food sources and scarce arable land are at the forefront of pressing global issues. As urbanization increases, it is causing land prices to rise, in many cases fueling difficulties supplying basic rights and necessities such as clean water, energy, and food to the world.

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Central to the problems of urbanization, housing, and resource scarcity is food production, according to a statement by Sinus Lynge, co-founder of the architectural firm EFFEKT in Denmark

“Today we spent 40 percent of the surface of our continents producing food,” Lynge said in a statement.

“Food production is the single largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, the biggest driver of deforestation and responsible for 70 percent of our global freshwater consumption. We ship our food from one end of the world to another just to waste 30 percent of the total production before consumption — and still 1/7 of the global population goes to bed hungry — we just have to come up with better models and ReGen is one of them.”

With such an impending crisis facing humanity, Lynge’s firm has partnered with ReGen to build sustainable, closed-loop communities supported by technology where nearly everything the residents need, from food to power, is provided within and by the community.

Concept art for eco-village in Almere, Netherlands

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Almere, Netherlands eco-village by Regen Villages and EFFEKT. CREDIT: Illustration © EFFEKT

Since announcing the project, the company has received a global flood of interest, according to James Ehrlich, founder of ReGen Villages.

“We have literally been inundated with inquiries from around the world,” Ehrlich wrote to The Science Explorer.

“There is a huge demand for families and individuals who want to live in abundance, surrounded by like-minded people who care about each other.There is a palpable demand for living within nature, for people to have agency with organic food at their doorstep, clean water, renewable energy, and the closed-loop cycles of waste into precious resources — all combined into a logical ecosystem that translates into safe, comfortable homes.”

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The companies aim to achieve this utopian community through a combination of integrated  technologies and conservation methods such as energy-positive homes, renewable energy, energy storage, door-step high-yield organic food production, vertical farming using aquaponic and aeroponic techniques, water management and waste-to-resource systems.

Concept art for eco-village in Almere, Netherlands

Vertical farming among other innovative agricultural techniques will be central to producing sufficient amounts of food in the village while reducing the amount of space and resources required. CREDIT: Illustration © EFFEKT

The first project is set to break ground this summer in the Netherlands with a proposed 100-home sustainable pilot community scheduled to be built near the city of Almere.

With such ambitious potential and high levels of international interest, the development teams are positioning themselves as the “Tesla of ecovillages,” and have plans for several other projects in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany, according to the companies.

“Urban dwellers across the world work hard to pay the commodities of their homes, such as mortgage, energy, water and heating, cooling and food,” said Lynge. “We envision homes that work for you, producing clean energy, water, food [off] the grid at affordable land prices outside our big cities.”

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