Architects at the University of Cambridge have developed a eco-friendly house, which is based on a 600-year-old Medieval design that retains heat from the sun while cooling naturally in the summer.
According to a report in the Telegraph, any extra energy needs are provided by solar panels on the roof and a woodchip boiler.
AdvertisementThe unusual dome-like design is based on a medieval technique, originating in Spain, known as 'timbrel vaulting'.
The four-bedroom "Eco-house" cost 445,000 pounds to build. However, with the price of renewable technologies set to plummet, it could be the most affordable and practical option for the future.
The building materials used were environmentally friendly, such as locally-sourced timber and recycled newspaper for insulation.
The house was also easy to build.
The arched building is essentially one large vault spanning 65 feet (20 metres), covered on the outside with earth and plants to camouflage it and help it blend in with the rural surroundings.
The natural materials mean the house can absorb fluctuations in temperature while triple-glazed windows use as much light as possible.
According to Michael Ramage, who is based at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture, future developments may look more and more like the eco-house.
"The design is cost-effective in that the home is relatively simple to build and, once you know what you're doing, it's quick," he said.
"Many of the costs come from the new technology it uses for energy storage and generation.
If those become more widely available, making a similar house cheaply in much larger quantities may be possible," he added.