South Korea’s Most Sustainable Home


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By Sam Jones at Green Futures

A show home in South Korea has become the first in East Asia to win the US Green Building Council’s prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum status.

Touted as ‘zero energy’, the 423 square metre Samsung Green Tomorrow house, designed by Samoo Architects with support from consultancy Arup, includes features such as high-efficiency lighting and a treatment plant for grey and black water recycling. Energy needs are met by a combination of 176 rooftop photovoltaic panels, generating 21MWh, and groundsource heat pumps.

But applause for the development doesn’t flow in from all quarters. Jonathan Hines of Architype, which has pioneered the energy efficient Passivhaus concept, is concerned that award schemes such as LEED could fuel a ‘tick box mentality’, whereby developers profit from one-off, costly, and ultimately unscalable, publicity stunts. According to Hines, the micro-generation systems of “buildings that are effectively zero carbon islands… are too small to be efficient or financially viable on a commercial scale”.

Green Tomorrow was no exception, with building costs double those of a standard three-bedroom house. But Samsung intends to address this gap, commercialising the design by 2013.

The pilot development could prove no more than a drop in the ocean for South Korea, where a government-backed programme to create a million green homes by 2020 aims to stimulate clean technologies (see ‘New law orders green growth’).

This article originally appeared in Green Futures, the magazine of independent sustainability experts Forum for the Future.

  • Advanced Technology Korea

    Nice and congrats! I shared this on the Facebook and twitter for project Advanced Technology and Design Korea.  Our fans really enjoyed it.  The blog has tons of related design content so drop by when you can! Hopefully you will find it fun and interesting.  Keep it up and have a good one! (@advancedtechkr)

  • Diana Schuhmachen

    Hi, I
    believe that our homes have great potential for improvement!
    On I read that buildings account for
    40 percent of the worldwide energy consumption and about 21 percent of all
    greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore this proves that we really have to focus on
    getting our homes more sustainable and more energy efficient.
    Have an nice day, Diana

  • Andrew Luse

    “New law orders green growth” link is dead, I just get the magazine’s home page. Please update it, thanks.

    • Joe Peach

      Thanks for letting me know, Andrew. The link is now fixed!

  • Clive Roux

    Great to hear about this example. See the following Design Gallery for more about Zero Energy sites around the globe: