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Architects design self-sustaining home in mountains with remarkable features: 'The retreat offers a new model'

Rain Harvest Home uses clean energy from a solar array.

Rain Harvest Home uses clean energy from a solar array.

Photo Credit: Robert Hutchison Architecture

In the mountains south of Valle Bravo in Mexico, architects have constructed a net-zero home ensemble that can operate completely off the grid. 

Many modern-day homes use electricity generated from dirty energy sources such as coal and natural gas, and water from sources such as lakes and rivers that passes through a treatment plant. This new construct, called Rain Harvest Home, uses clean energy from a solar array and has its own water storage and treatment system that conserves water. 

The project was a combined effort by Robert Hutchison Architecture and JSa and consists of a home, detached bathhouse, and architect's studio — all designed to function optimally in the area's climate. Built about two hours west of Mexico City, the property sits in a region that experiences rainy summers and dry winters. 

"The retreat offers a new model for utilizing and conserving water in a region and country where it is an increasingly precious resource," the architects said, according to Designboom.  

Self-sustaining residences save homeowners and landlords major cash. While there are initial costs to install eco-friendly features such as solar panels and water treatment systems, a home that operates off the grid means reduced water and electricity bills, which can really add up in savings over time. 

Homeowners also save money and time with less need for maintenance on self-sustainable systems. And, as the designs continue to improve, residents can look forward to off-grid homes that are beautiful and comfortable. 

With more areas in the world experiencing climate-change-induced extreme-weather events, reimagining homes that are designed to function in specific climates could help communities everywhere look toward a safer, more secure future. 

Creating residences that cut down on their use of dirty energy and therefore reduce their planet-overheating gas output is also imperative for a safer future for us all. 

The self-sustaining home is becoming more popular. Students at universities are experimenting with off-grid home designs, and construction companies are offering self-sustainable residences, including luxury prefabricated homes.

With so many benefits to homeowners and the environment, the construction of more self-sustainable homes and use of off-grid tech is helping to reinvent the way we envision residential spaces.

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