The House of the Future

By Mariel Dominguez

A Sustainable Ecosystem


My house of the future would be located in the Temperate Deciduous Forest. You may know this as southern Ontario, where most people live. It has high temperatures, so there is a long growing season, and good, fertile soil to grow plants and trees on. This is why many people live in this area.

To create a nice, green environment around my home, I would locate my house near a forest with lots of native deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are trees that lose their leaves in the winter. I would locate my house near maple trees (I can get their maple syrup), oak trees, and hickories. I would also locate my house near a river to have a nice source of water.

My Farm

I would plant fruits and vegetables that have been growing safely, because they have been known not to invade. I would grow my fruits and veggies in rotation, so I won’t overwork the soil so it doesn’t lose its nutrients. I would grow some essential fruits, such as apples and lettuce. I would also grow some berries. I would also put a beehive near my house and some flowers too, to get honey. I would put my whole farm in a greenhouse, so I can grow my foods early and be able to eat them for most of the year.

I wouldn’t put any pesticides in my garden, not even DDT. DDT is a broad-spectrum pesticide, which is effective against many types of pests. It seems good, but it kills off harmless insects, that can then kill off an entire food chain. Another reason why I wouldn’t want to use pesticides is because of benzene hexachloride. This is another type of pesticide which accumulates more inside your body going up the food chain. We can eat fruit from soils contaminated from that pesticide. Instead of using pesticides, I would introduce wasps and rotate my crops every once in a while. Rotating crops can confuse the pests, and wasps are the natural predator of these pests.

My Driveway

I would park a hybrid car and a bike in my driveway. I would park a bike in my driveway because apart from being a great way to exercise, I use no greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases trap heat, which is a big reason for global warming today. I would also park a hybrid car for long-distance trips. The hybrid cars today use half electricity and half gas to power the car. The gas is used efficiently and well, releasing less greenhouse gas.

Waste Management

I would include recycling and composting as ways to manage my waste. Composting is a way to put organic things, such as leaves and apple cores, back in the soil as a type of fertilizer. It costs way less than buying fertilizer, and it reduces the size of our landfills (where all the garbage goes). Recycling is also good because we are reusing old materials that can be used again, instead of ruining more animal habitats for new resources.

Atoms, Elements, and Compounds

Toxic Chemicals in the Home

Three items I use in the home are bleach, soda, and pool chlorine.

Bleach is used to clean bacteria and also whiten clothing. It is usually made of sodium hypochlorite, which is a mixture of sodium, oxygen, and chlorine. Soda, which I drink, can give me temporary energy, but it contains phosphoric acids, which can lead to kidney problems and weak bones. Phosphoric acid is made of phosphorus, hydrogen, and oxygen. Pool chlorine is used to treat the pool water and make it clean of bacteria. It is made of tablets which, when put into the water, breaks down into chemicals, like hypochlorite acids and ions (made of hydrogen, oxygen, and chlorine). The chlorinated water could smell weird, could make your skin itchy, and as gas over the pool, could cause breathing problems.

Chosen Element

Most of these chemicals are made of chlorine. Chlorine is number 17. and is a non-metal element in group 17 of the periodic table, the halogens. The halogens are very reactive gases. Chlorine in particular can irritate the eyes and damage the lungs if inhaled.

The Characteristics of Electricity

Types of Energy I Would Use

I would use wind turbines, hydroelectricity, and solar electricity to power my home. Wind turbines use the power of wind to generate electricity. Small wind turbines can supply about 50% of a home’s electricity, and can be located close to the home. Wind is free, and it doesn’t release any greenhouse gases. I would also use solar panels to convert the sun into electricity. The solar panels do not pollute our air either, but I would need to put a lot of them in order for them to actually work. Hydroelectricity, also known as water energy, uses water to generate electricity. There are many fast rivers in Ontario, so I can put a small water generator near my river to power my home all year. These sources of energy do not use any non-renewable resources such as coal, and do not release any gases that can heat the planet, so they are sustainable for the future to use.

Energy-Efficient House Design

My home would have the rooms used most in the south and the east. The sun shines more on the Equator (which is near the south) and also rises in the east, so I can put the rooms I use more in the southeast. I would put a whole grid of solar panels in the roof so it would absorb the most solar energy. I would put large windows made with insulating fibreglass, so I could not use electricity at all to light the living rooms. I can also use cool roofs, which reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. I would need to use less air conditioning in the summer because of these cool roofs.

Green Appliances

Some appliances I would buy are new refrigerators, front-facing washing machines, and LED TVs. They all have the Energy Star label. The refrigerators have more insulating material and let less cold air out, using less energy to cool your foods. The washing machines have doors on the front, so they use less water and less energy to spin your clothing clean because gravity pulls the spinner down. I can hang the clothing to dry outside. LED TVs use less energy to produce the light on the TV, and the TV can dim dark parts for a richer picture, so there’s less energy to use.

I would also use LED lights because they do not have any toxic chemicals, and can last up to 100,000 hours, plus they can use 90% less energy.

The Study of the Universe

The Smoke Detector

Items I would use in my house that originally came from NASA are smoke detectors and memory foam.

Smoke detectors were first made by NASA to detect smoke and toxic gases for their Skylab project, in the 1970s. Skylab studied how the human body reacted in space, and studied the Sun too. Now, smoke detectors are used at home to detect smoke by photoelectric detection (when smoke passes through the light beam on the detector). I would use smoke detectors in case there is a fire I may not be near, so I can go there as soon as possible.

Memory Foam

Memory foam was developed in the 1960s. It was originally used for flight seats so that a passenger can survive a crash. It absorbed a lot of energy, but it was very soft. The foam, when pressure is applied, can mold into the shape of the object giving pressure, and can return into normal when nothing is on it. Today, it is used in seating for motorcycles, race cars, and beds. I would use memory foam on beds to sleep well and rest easy.

House Design

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My house is a rectangular shaped-house. It has a greenhouse (which does have walls around) inside, so I can grow my food inside for a longer growing season. The roof is mostly solar panels, but there is a cool roof underneath. Most of my home is fibreglass, except for certain rooms in which I would like to keep my privacy. This lets a lot of heat in. There are two floors, one for the living room, and one for the bedrooms. The rooms I use most (the living room, the kitchen, the greenhouse room) are located in the east and south, and the bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the west. The dining room is located in the west too, because I usually wouldn't use it until night time.


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