After five years of collaborating on a 'home of the future', SOM, DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design were finally ready to reveal their concpetual product: a 3-D printed tiny house that looks like a Conestoga wagon and 3-D printed SUV that emanates a futuristic Jeep they call AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy).
The goal in the collaboration was to explore energy efficiency and sustainable building practices for future urban applications. The team turned to 3-D printing as a way to reduce the amount of waste in the building process. Phil Enquist, a parter at SOM, told Wired writer Margaret Rhodes that modern construction projects can have 20 to 30% of material waste that ends in a landfill.
The researchers also wanted to 'reimagine how we produce, store, and consume energy.' So, the house and SUV can actually pass electricity back and forth and integrate into the grid.
That’s exactly what the AMIE project does. Both the building and the SUV can generate and store energy. The building powers its lights and appliances—it comes complete with faucets, a refrigerator, and induction stovetops— with rooftop solar panels. When appliances aren’t in use, energy is stored in the building’s battery. The vehicle sports a battery, too, but also has a gasoline-powered generator. The SUV and the building are connected by an inductive charging pad that is activated when the car parks above it. When necessary, the car’s battery and generator can supply energy to the house—and vice-versa. And if both are powerless on a cloudy day, the house can tap into the power grid.