Eco-friendly floating homes for aquatic living are under construction – USA TODAY

Imagine a world where people live in modern luxury homes floating nearly seven and a half feet above the sea. Fleets of “revolutionary living pods” with state-of-the-art technology and drones to deliver essentials will hit the market this year.
Ocean Builders, a Panama-based company that specializes in innovative marine technology, unveiled what they describe as the “world’s first eco-restorative homes.”
Three home models are currently in production: The SeaPod, built for aquatic living, the GreenPod for land and the EcoPod for a more environmentally friendly option. 
The EcoPod is designed to be a more affordable option that still includes the same principles as the SeaPod and GreenPod. It features a rain-collecting roof, huge windows and a smaller floor plan. It’s also built to be placed into a container to ship it wherever a customer wants to set it up.
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The company’s long-term goal is to make sustainable homes made from as many natural and eco-conscious materials as possible.
A fleet of pods are currently under construction on the north coast of Panama in the Linton Bay Marina. SeaPods will be deployed primarily in warm, humid climates. 
Ocean Builders officially launched online sales Tuesday, according to a company spokesperson. Pods can be reserved with a deposit of $100 on their website.
“We are planting the SeaPod seed here in Panama, but our eventual goal is to have SeaPod homes in every corner of the ocean, all around the world,” Ocean Builders’ CEO Grant Romundt said in a statement.
The elevated structures will have three and a half levels, 833 square feet of living space, a master bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and 1,250 square feet of storage space. 
The kitchen and dining area can be turned into an open-air room by opening a large set of glass sliding doors.
Air-filled steel tubes beneath the SeaPod create buoyancy to stabilize the structure.
The SeaPod – which ranges from around $295,000 to $1.5 million in price based on upgrades and customization – was made with smart technology for aquatic living.
“We are trying to keep the price as close as possible to an average U.S. family home for the minimal home with the option to add features such as Air Conditioning, more solar, upgraded kitchen, etc.,” the company’s website says.
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The first rollout of custom pods will become available to order in September. The first 100 will either be in production or delivered by the end of 2023, Ocean Builders claims, and a second rollout of 1,000 pods will begin in 2024.
Dinghy boats, jet skis and local water taxis will be used to transport people to and from their SeaPods.
Drones will deliver items such as food and medicine. A separate autonomous vessel will transport larger deliveries, recycling, garbage and debris. 
 A “PodWatch Lifeguard Drone” will keep an eye on the water and send help if the need arises. This can be implemented either through a wristband with an SOS button that when pushed, a surface drone will appear and give you something to grab onto, or an AI camera watching the area.
These SeaPods aren’t just for looks. They also have the potential to build new thriving underwater ecosystems.
SeaPods add shade, which would eventually attract sea life such as barnacles, coral, and eventually fish, Ocean Builders says. 
“Every SeaPod that goes in the water gets us one step closer to restoring a marine ecosystem,” their website claims.
Other eco-friendly measures include a solid waste incinerator to turn waste into non-toxic ash and a waterless urinal to reduce unnecessary usage. 
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team. 


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