Autarkic houseboat

Impression - Source: atelier GROENBLAUW

In this study for a houseboat the theme of autarky is broadly worked out. This home is autarkic not only with regard to energy but also in terms of waste and food.

The energy concept is based on generating energy using photo-voltaic panels and a small wind turbine. The energy is stored in conventional batteries and air batteries. The stored power is enough for the boat to be able to function for a week on its own power, i.e., without solar and wind power. Such a concept is technically possible. The criterion of being able to function for one week without wind and solar energy makes the concept costly. The cost of the installation of this completely autarkic ship for four people amounts to around 200,000 euros, 100,000 of which is for the energy storage.

Plattegrond van de woonverdieping, de slaapverdieping en de kasverdieping
- Source: atelier GROENBLAUW


The energy that the ark uses is generated by the solar panels and the wind turbine. The energy is stored in batteries placed at the heart of the ark.

To reduce the amount of energy used and create a healthy living environment, a deliberate choice was made not to add a heat recovery system. The design incorporates the same principle in a natural fashion: the separate spaces act as compartments offering different classes of comfort. Ventilation air and cold air from outside are channelled alongside each other. Ventilating the ark through the sun rooms helps reduce the amount of heat lost as a result of ventilation.


Precipitation falling on the roof of the ark is captured and used for the washing machine and shower. Wastewater is treated in the helophyte filter in the sun room located on the roof and is used in the low-flush toilet and for watering the plants used for food production.


Under the folding roof (100 m2), sufficient space is available for a 12 m2 helophyte filter and a terrace and for growing vegetables, such as tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and lettuce, as well as figs, strawberries and grapes. There is even room to keep a few chickens for fresh eggs. Permaculture shows that, if used cleverly, a few square metres are enough for growing a significant proportion of the food that a household needs. [opMAAT]

- Source: atelier GROENBLAUW
Image showing successively the living machine, wash basin, greywater tank, treated greywater for toilet flushing and membrane filtration
- Source: atelier GROENBLAUW
Image showing successively a Windmill, OV cells, Batteries, Heat exchanger
- Source: atelier GROENBLAUW