Go off-the-grid in a PanGoPod

Date:28 October 2019 Author: Leila Stein Tags:,

Tiny homes have made a big splash all over the world, both for their environmentally conscious designs and because they prove that it is possible to live with less. While some of these tiny homes are personal projects by their owners, a South African company based in Cape Town are creating ready-to-buy tiny homes called PanGoPods.

Developed by the Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI), the idea behind these on-the-go, off-the-grid homes is that the owners are not beholden to any space or reliant on any power grids. The house can be planted anywhere or moved around on a trailer. They run off of solar power, use water from rainwater harvesting tanks, and have a water-free composting toilet.

The BDI is a non-profit company that foster research and community action in biodiversity conservation and development. These tiny homes are part of a project that have been under development for the last two years.

Each of these small pods are roughly 16 m2 and have two mezzanine lofts, each of just over 4 m2, resulting in a total area of nearly 25 m2.  It only weighs 3,500kg and can be towed by a large 4×4.

“We drew inspiration from the ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), an animal that can roll up into a defensive ball, protected by keratin scales. Beyond this remarkable defensive ploy, pangolins are also mobile and can go just about anywhere. Hence … the pangolin pod, the go-anywhere pod, the PanGoPod,” said the company’s website.

The lofts can each take two single mattresses or a king-size mattress. A separate bathroom includes a shower, a composting toilet, a hand basin, a wardrobe, and a washing machine. The open-plan ground floor contains a fully-functional kitchen, a sleeper couch, and a dining nook.

The company explain that these tiny homes are a way “to grow our nation in a sustainable way, while caring for our people and preserving our environment” and that it is a new approach to housing, which is a concern in the country.

They say that switching to a PanGoPods, provides the benefits of reducing environmental footprint, allowing for freedom of movement, they are a safe, secure and weatherproof shelter, and create a healthy and nurturing space.

“We need to integrate modern living into the surrounding environment in ways that are sensitive to human well-being, long-term sustainability, and ecological resilience. Part of this approach is to develop eco-friendly off-grid mobile homes,” they said.

Image: Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI)

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