This super-cool tiny home with a living wall lived at the UN this summer

Ecological Living Module
David Sundberg/Esto

We love tiny homes. The latest one we’ve uncovered even lived at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City for a while this summer. It’s the Ecological Living Module, or EDM, cooked up in a weird science partnership between architectural firm Gray Organschi and no less than Yale University’s Center for Ecosystems in Architecture.

Trust us, it’s tiny — just 230 square feet, or 21 square meters — but this weird, wedge-shaped dwelling can be operated completely independently of existing utilities and infrastructure. Not that we’re planning for that eventuality.

It’s a pretty great project overall, meant to address housing issues from both a social and environmental standpoint.

“Today, one billion people live in informal settlements, often without reliable electricity, water, sanitation, or food,” the design team said. “Meanwhile, the housing sector consumes 40 percent of the planet’s total resources and contributes more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

For you Nick Offerman types out there, the woodwork is pretty cool, too. The cabin is constructed out of engineered wood, with posts made out of parallel strand lumber (PSL) and beams formed from lamineered veneer lumber (LVT). Meanwhile the wall and roof panels are composed of cross-laminated lumber (CLT) with wood-fiber insulation and plywood sheathing. More conventionally, the facades are wrapped in western red cedar.

And lest we forget, there’s the living wall.

Says the team about this unusual wall, “A building-integrated Active Modular Phytoremediation System (FABS) — an aero-hydroponic green wall planted in a probiotic growing substrate — utilizes plants’ root systems to filter airborne VOCs, particulates, and pathogens.”

Living wall | Ecological Living Module
David Sundberg/Esto

VOCs are “volatile organic compounds,” by the way. They are the nasty stuff that comes off of such things like cigarettes, pesticides, and other solvents that eventually turn into smog.

The cabin is designed to accommodate up to four people and includes a sleeping loft, a tiny seating area, a kitchen, and a bathroom with a shower and composting unit. All of the building’s electricity is generated by a combination of conventional solar panels and something called an “Integrated Concentrated Solar Facade System” developed by the global research collaborative HeliOptix.

“The HeliOptix system produces greater power output per area than traditional solar, while using less than one percent of the semiconductor material and transmitting diffuse sunlight into the interior,” says the team.

The structure is also water-thoughtful. The building collects, stores and filters rainwater, and recycles gray water to irrigate food crops integrated into the micro-farming wall. During humid months, a dehumidifier captures water from the air to supplement the rainwater supply.

It’s an impressive achievement to create a dwelling that is adaptable, efficient and multi-functional — the ELM can reportedly transition easily to accommodate domestic, commercial, and retail uses in addition to serving as a tiny home. But in terms of price and assembly, it’s a genuine potential solution for housing in difficult regions.

“If put into large-scale industrial production, the ELM could be prefabricated at under $50,000 per unit,” says the team, who were able to assemble their demo unit in three days through the efforts of its 16 members. The home was on display all summer at the UN headquarters in New York City, in conjunction with the organization’s High-Level Political Forum, which focuses on sustainability.

Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Deals

College sports are yours to watch live online with an ESPN+ free trial

It can be difficult to catch all the college games, especially for smaller conferences. Well, thanks to ESPN+ that’s no longer the case. Now, you won't need to miss any of your alma mater rival games.
Computing

Your MacBook can live in the lap of luxury with this leather case

Though there are several cases which we think are best for covering up MacBooks, Twelve South's Journal case is one of the newest available, providing luxurious leather coverage for your Apple laptop.
Deals

These headlights have 4 color settings to help save lives under all conditions

Boslla headlights are an easy-to-install solution to achieve all-weather lighting for your vehicle. After a quick ten-minute install, these lights have up to four settings to get you through anything.
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.
Deals

Shop early Black Friday deals on Philips Hue products from Amazon, today only

Avoid the Black Friday hassle and shop great online deals. Amazon is offering huge discounts on refurbished Philips Hue smart lighting products to help light your home. For today only, you can grab a range of smart home tech from Amazon.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Smart Home

Save Smart: The Best Black Friday Smart Home Deals

The number of Black Friday sales can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best bang-for-your-buck deals you'll find this year on the most popular smart home products on the market.
News

Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

Amazon is generating a new level of sustainability into its platform with Amazon Second Chance, a new portal that encourages consumers to trade in and recycle their old electronic devices.
Smart Home

Amazon rejoins the fight against HIV/AIDS with a (Red) second-gen Echo

Now you can rock out to U2 and give to a good cause by buying Amazon's red Echo, a limited edition of the smart speaker that also donates money to the humanitarian organization Project (Red), founded by Bono.