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Veljko Milkovic is an inventor and, as such, has created designs for an eco-house along with many other energy-saving devices. His self-heating eco-house – or Eko Kuca - building concept saves up to 85 percent on heating, 100 percent on cooling, 30 percent on lighting and about 20 to 40 percent on building materials, based on monitoring. Using passive solar design principles and earth-shelter techniques, he also employs reflective surfaces that unfold to capture and amplify solar gain into the home through the glazing. Milkovic says this design achieves the highest energy savings with a minimum investment. The Eko Kuca is covered with a sod roof that sweeps up over the earth-bermed house to provide additional insulation for an energy-efficient envelope. (Scroll to bottom for additional resources)
In 2009, the Eko Kuca won a First Place Award for Serbia and Montenegro as part of the international Energy Globe competition for worldwide sustainability.
With many patents to his name, designer Milkovic is a modern-day Nikola Tesla who also grows mushrooms, creates improved methods for food production and has developed a hand water pump that uses a pendulum for greater efficiency.
Ten Eko Kucas have been built around Serbia - the first in 1979. Since then, relevant factors concerning this construction method have been monitored, proving the solar sod house concept yields energy savings of up to 85 percent. Construction costs for these earth-sheltered homes have also been shown to be less than the construction of above-ground houses.
Instead of a traditional roof, the Eko Kuca has a layer of soil and vegetation that protects the house from cold winter and hot summer temperatures. Rainwater from the roof can also be collected in a cistern for later use. The earth berming also protects walls from erosion and reduces noise. These ecological houses do not require deep foundations, and a smaller footprint is possible because the houses do not require a large area for HVAC-related mechanical equipment.
Savings in heating is partly based on reflective surfaces that reflect direct and diffuse solar radiation into the home interior. Reflective panels or other hard surfaces are coated with glossy lacquer and milk-white paint, or covered with aluminum foils and sheet metal. The upper reflecting surfaces are fixed and built into the eaves of the building; the lower reflective panels are hinged under the windows and can double as shutters. These reflecting surfaces are an inexpensive solar device according to Milkovic, that, in addition to heating, also increase the presence of daylight within the home. An Eko Kuca in Novi Sad, Serbia, for example, has shown savings in electric lightning of 30 percent.
Veljko Milkovic has registered around 110 other inventions with Serbia’s intellectual property office, with 36 patents issued. In addition to his eco homes, his ecological inventions include an autonomous battery charger, greenhouses, mushroom gardens, a forest for food production, eco barns, housing projects based on soil protection and a facility for purification and desalination of salt water and polluted water.
Veljko Milkovic also authored two books in Serbian on the Eko Kuca:
Solarne Zemunice - Dom Buducnosti
To order copies, contact the Veljko Milkovic Research & Development Center