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The Steel Box House is a concept sketch for a lightweight dwelling that incorporates all energy generation and waste disposal requirements on site. The idea relies on the rapid heat transfer capabilities that are intrinsic to plate steel to suggest that the whole house could be considered as a heat exchanger: rapidly absorbing energy from the sun to heat water and consequently the internal spaces or alternatively to be used as an evaporator in conjunction with a refrigerant to provide cooling through the inside skin of the building.

The envelope of the house is comprised of layers of steel sheet; the dark outer layers form a basic solar collector across the elevation of the house, whilst the internal layers are exposed to a cross flow of air to assist with cooling. In addition the concept supposes a direct connection to an aquifer and deep thermal piles to ‘borrow’ thermal mass from the ground.