By Cameron Chai
A student team comprising 25 students from the Valles School of Architecture located at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya will design an innovative, economic house with high efficiency, enhanced features, high comfort level using minimal resources, less money and energy for the 2012 Solar Declathon Europe.
e)co house prototype
The project has been termed as (e)co and the house will be eco-friendly and economic and will be fully powered using solar energy. The house construction will begin in the end of February and is one among the four Spanish entrants to compete from 14 to 30 September in the Solar Declathon Europe in Madrid.
The building prototype of 150 m2 comprises a hermit-crab-like outer shell that behaves like a greenhouse and offers shade as well as a flexible, bio-degradable, transformable, interior. The outer skin cellular polycarbonate of the house will be fitted on a galvanized steel structure. A net system will be provided to shade the roof in order to avoid the greenhouse effect during winter, in the summer season. Furthermore, the outer walls and roof can be opened to make cross-ventilation possible. This means that by the use of passive heating and cooling strategies, the house can generate thermal energy offering thermal comfort at zero cost.
Three interconnected wooden modules are included in the house interior each having a measurement of 15 m2 for a complete climate-controlled area of 45 m2. These flexible modules permit a broad range of applications to meet the needs of each resident. The modules are isolated thermally from each other and can be cooled or heated separately. The attic is built as an optional usable area.
The (e)co house is provided with flooring made of structural wooden planks and includes a home-automation system to control cooling and heating and to operate the sliding doors and roof. The house is also incorporated with 20 photovoltaic solar panels for electricity generation, three solar thermal collectors for hot water production, and a system that helps harvest rainwater and greywater.