The "Living Light" house is a compact, ultra-efficient prefab home unlike any you've ever seen. It's literally a glass house, with enormous banks of windows comprising its longest walls, allowing diffuse light to pour into the home and rendering indoor lighting superfluous by day. If you can't stand dark winter days, the feeling of being cooped up indoors or you simply love natural light, this is the home for you.
Researchers and students at the University of Tennessee designed the home to cope with the state's hot summers and cold winters. Both of its glass walls have an interior space housing blinds, through which air can flow and be pre-heated in winter or cooled in summer.
The entire home is controlled by iPad. Temperature, window shades, lighting, energy consumption, even the home entertainment system are all accessible from a single app.
One of the secrets to the home's solar panels is that they're cylindrical, rather than flat. This means they can gather direct, reflected and ambient sunlight, no matter what the angle of the sun or the weather conditions.
The Living Light house is prefabricated, which means that it can be built to exacting standards, and then simply shipped to its final destination. Even so, the home costs $425,000. The expected energy savings over 30 years are $90,000, however, and Tennessee is a coal state with cheap electricity. In a state with more expensive power, those savings could easily double, making the Living Light house competitive with similar boutique prefab homes.