By Hannah Azlan
Malaysia played host to a group of like-minded individuals: ones who took positive steps to reduce carbon emissions by doing two things – modernising the traditional Malaysian kampung house and making it both available and affordable for the everyday Malaysian.
Championed by Matthias Gelber (internationally known as ‘The Green Man’) and his team, they embarked on a mission to build Malaysia’s first ever extreme zero energy, completely off-grid, carbon neutral and affordable house which was aptly named the ‘GreenMan Tiny Home’.
Construction of the prototype began in September 2016 at the Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) and was completed in last month, February 2017 – just in time to introduce the newly built Tiny Home to 50,000 visitors at the Hari Kraf Kebangsan (HKK) 2017 event at the Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur. The Tiny Home is currently on display at Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) at Jalan Chan Sow Lin and open to the public.
“It has bothered me that modern homes are hot like saunas and that the use of air-conditioning has become the norm. We went back to the original structure of kampung houses and made urban living comfortable without the need for an external electricity source and water supply. Most people think green living is expensive but I want to prove that using natural resources like solar power can be cost effective, provided items that consume a lot of electricity are completely avoided. The GreenMan Tiny Home project is an educational experiment and I hope that many Malaysians will learn from it and be inspired,” explained Matthias.
The design was inspired by traditional kampung-style houses which were built using eco-friendly materials and raised above the ground to keep the interior cool in the tropical heat.
The innovative features of the Tiny Home include rainwater harvesting, solar power, a bacterial toilet and many other unique inclusions that make this the only transportable, completely off-grid residence in Malaysia.
“The GreenMan Tiny Home prototype will hopefully be a game changer in the local housing development industry. Our experience will be shared with the public and we hope that developers will incorporate our ideas to build a genuinely eco-friendly building,” said Matthias.
The GreenMan Tiny Home was created to embody the seven components of circular architecture: resident, region, reduction, recovery, recycle, repair and replenish.The compact size of the Tiny Home takes into account the minimum space required for unhindered movement and daily activities. The house has an overall footprint size of only 2.5m X 4.5m and a floor space of 120 square feet, which makes it slightly smaller than a standard parking space.
This parking lot-sized development was crowd-sourced by several Malaysian construction industry players who all share a commitment to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle in Malaysia. For more information, visit www.greenmantinyhome.com or follow the project’s official Facebook page at fb.com/GreenManTinyHome.