Zero Energy House: mkLotus

VIDEO: Jill Feherenbacher interviews Michelle Kaufmann about the new eco-prefab home mkLotus, which debuted late September at West Coast Green in San Francisco. What she finds is a testament to thoughtful, smart design.

Michelle Kaufmann‘s new eco-prefab home has debuted on the grass in front of San Francisco City Hall as part of the West Coast Green show at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza.

Inhabitat‘s Jill Feherenbacher and ScribeMedia’s Perry Hallinan got a sneak peak of the house as it was getting set up, and interviewed the designer.

Michelle Kaufmann is known for her modern, sustainable prefab designs, and the mkLotus goes above and beyond all previous MK designs. The modular construction allows for customization and flexibility, while sliding doors allow residents to open up their house to the elements.

mkLotus is compact and stunning, with xeriscape landscaping, and the most high-tech green materials and sustainable systems available, including a graywater recycling system, green roof, solar panels, and even a spot to plug in your electric vehicle for charging.

From sustainable materials like flyash concrete, FSC-certified wood, no-VOC paint and EcoResin to the green roof, LED lighting system, EnergyStar appliances, photovoltaic energy system, and rainwater/graywater catchment, the house is as green as it gets. The ‘zero-energy’ house actually produces so much energy from the solar panels on the roof that you can charge your electric vehicle with a plug in the side of the house.

Above and beyond all the green, however, the house is just a testament to thoughtful, smart design. Every material, system and design choice in the house seems to be thought out, and have purpose. The high ceilings, skylights, gently angled walls, floor to ceiling glass and copious daylight all work to make the 700 square foot house feel a lot bigger and more spacious than it actually is.



6 thoughts on “Zero Energy House: mkLotus”

  1. Great interview and info. Not sure whether this would work in some less sunny areas (43 degrees and higher North) where efficiency of solar is so much less. Also, noticed the high heels on the ladder and roof – please be careful!!

  2. I gotta agree with Greg and at least ask a few questions of any green design that portrays washing machines as usable with solar panels. I suppose we could power washing machines with solar panels at night with 50-100k investment in panels and batteries.

    My bottom line is this… At least the designers are thinking clearly these days and at least people are learning what is possible even if it’s not grounded in a lot of reality.

    If you’re a green architect, builder or designer, do you have the following responsibilities? – link to my post at

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