Sustainable Rooftop Living


Rooftop living is not something that’s often mentioned on this blog, but from a sustainability point of view, it makes a lot of sense. Especially when it comes to urban living, and lack of adequate and affordable living space there. The Jewel Box, designed by Clear Studios of New York City, is a great example of a housing solution on the roof, which is also all around very sustainable.

The prototype of the Jewel Box was constructed on the roof of a building in Guatemala City. It was built using recycled and repurposed materials such as wooden pallets, and wine bottles (cast with concrete), while the windows were all reclaimed from elsewhere. It measures a modest 100 square feet, and features a living area, bedroom, office space and even a room for meditation.


There are also vertical gardens surrounding the home, which allow for organic produce growing, as well as give a sense of being closer to nature. There is also a “Zen garden” on the roof, where tea plants are grown, as well as a sculpture like structure that is used for solar energy collection. The roof is also fitted with gutters for rainwater collection, which is first used for showering, then recycled and used to irrigate the gardens.


The Jewel Box connects state of the art sustainable technologies with very basic construction methods. As such it is very promising in terms of promoting sustainable living, especially in developing nations and cities. Since it is built using salvaged and repurposed materials, it can be a rather simple DIY project for many, given adequate instructions. The latter also have to include good information on how to remove the toxic chemicals from pallets, since these are not suitable for building materials unless this is done properly.



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