June 3 - An energy efficient home, measuring just 3 meters cubed, is helping people realize how to cut their carbon footprint. The building, called The Cube, is the brainchild of a British psychologist who wants to know why - in his view - people seem to be reluctant to adopt energy saving technology. Stuart McDill reports from the University of Hertfordshire.
With internal dimensions of just 3m by 3m by 3m - there is literally nothing wasted in the Cube - be that space or energy. The little house is the creation of British psychologist Mike Page. He wants to know what's stopping some people from adopting low energy technology like LED lighting, even when they know it works. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR MIKE PAGE, UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE SAYING: "When people would come to us and say I'd like to change my lightbulbs but I don't know what to do. What's the best technology? By doing the Cube Project we were able to collect what we believe to be the best technologies or the best set of technologies working together in a viable dwelling so that we could demonstrate them to people." The cube makes the most of its space outside and in. Solar panels on the roof and a south facing wall will produce all the electricity it needs. The living room and dining room area is underneath a full size double bed. And there's a complete kitchen, next to a shower and toilet area. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR MIKE PAGE, UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE SAYING: "We were very strict in design terms in saying look, we're not going to use any piece of technology that is only applicable to a 3x3x3m space because then we are just telling people how to live in a 3x3x3m space and they say well I've got 6x6x6m house, what am I going to do? So, all the technology we have used is scalable." The result is a carbon neutral home using commercially available materials and technology, that will save energy and money. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR MIKE PAGE, UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE SAYING: "The payback for energy efficient LED lighting replacing halogen lighting in hotels is around 300 days. So you are doubling your money in 600 days. That's equivalent to having about 45 percent interest rate in the bank. So if anybody's got a 45 percent interest bank account I'd like to know about it. If they haven't they would be better off changing their lights because that is the equivalent return that they are getting." The Cube started life as an academic exercise but has proved such a success its likely to go into production. Stuart McDill, Reuters, Hatfield