Eco fashion news

Solar Decathlon Europe Shows Solar Skills Of Design and Engineering Students From Around The World

…Solar Decathlon Europe, where the rest of the world competes “to design and build houses that consume as few natural resources as possible and produce minimum waste products during their life cycle. Particular emphasis is put on reducing energy consumption and on obtaining all the necessary energy from the sun.”

Story by Lloyd Alter - Source:

Solar Decathlon Europe

Photo ©SDEurope

The Solar Decathlon started in the States, but it was such a great idea that the rest of the world wanted in. Hence Solar Decathlon Europe, where the rest of the world competes “to design and build houses that consume as few natural resources as possible and produce minimum waste products during their life cycle. Particular emphasis is put on reducing energy consumption and on obtaining all the necessary energy from the sun.”

Universities from around the world are competing in the challenge, covering ten criteria. TreeHugger was unable to attend, so a tip of the hat is due to Inhabitat here, which has covered it like a blanket.


Photo ©SDEurope

From the Technical University of Denmark, FOLD is “naive… and realistic.”

The sloped roof is designed to be tuned to local conditions and site specific resources, following three steps:

 • REDUCE: The first step is to reduce energy consumption by limiting unwanted heat loss and gain by means of improved geometry and the transparency of the building envelope.

• OPTIMIZE: Then we optimize the necessary systems. This might be cause additional cost on the building budget – but the operating costs will be significantly minimized.

• PRODUCE: Finally, the building achieves net zero energy by building integrated energy production methods.

Inhabitat called it “a comfortable, well-lit and ventilated home that people from all walks of life will enjoy.”

ODOO Project

Photo ©SDEurope

Budapest University of Technology and Economics’ ODOO project is ” a small house with an intensively used outdoor living area. The Odoo is a design concept to create a new type of living space which combines the benefits of traditional Hungarian lifestyle and modern, contemporary comfort conditions. ”

This house has a really seductive plan, with an outdoor court integrated into the design. It also has an interesting system of water storage and circulation that keeps it cool in summer with sprinklers on the roof, and warm in winter with a radiant floor system tied into storage tanks to gather heat passively and release it later.

Para Eco-House

Photo ©SDEurope

From Tongji University in China, The Para Eco-House is a mix of old and new, Green gizmo and traditional tech. So there is a wooden parametric mesh of a timber skin put together with mortise and tenon joints, supporting a green roof and a grid of tracking photovoltaic panels.

These components are assembled into a rhombus unit with ventilation holes that allow the wind to blow through passively. The sizes of the holes vary due to the local prevailing wind and the wind pressure on the elevation. The breeze enriches the semi-open space creating an eco-transition between nature and interior space.

It is a multi-layered system: ” an energy responsive skin on the outside, an environmental protective skin in the middle, and a courtyard skin at the heart.”

Cem’ Casas Em Movemento

Photo ©SDEurope

There is a nice series of images on the website for the cem+nem project from the University of Oporto in Portugal, showing how a house might evolve through it’s inhabitant’s life cycle; It is designed to constantly adapt and upgrade. It also moves; the photovoltaic panels can tilt and follow the sun. The building is clad made of our favorite natural insulating material, renewable and natural cork.

MED in Italy: Towards a New Architecture

Photo ©SDEurope

I’m showing the interior of the MED in Italy entry from Rome University because frankly, the exterior is really boring. That is done on purpose; the house is modeled after the traditional courtyard houses of the Roman Empire, where your home is very private and introspective.

The roman “domus”, daughter of the Greek house and mother of the Arab, Catalan and Campidanese courtyard-house, can be considered the most popular and recurrent residential housing type in the Mediterranean….The main element is the courtyard, often used as a garden, around which there was a portico, another crucial element; the rooms were arranged around the courtyard and allowed the inhabitants to carry out numerous activities, albeit in a covered area.

The design pays homage to more than just traditional planning; it is a model of traditional techniques, “The whole house is based on the contrast between low-tech and hi-tech construction.” They have five points towards a new Architecture:

Passive: with the walls,

Active: shading and photovoltaics, a few green gizmos

Fast: prefabrication.

Eco-conscious: in the choice of local and appropriate materials.

Dense: Being a courtyard design, you can pack them together tightly.

Seriously, the more I look at this, the more I like it. They are going to suffer in the judging because of its curb appeal, or lack thereof, and that is a shame, this is a really interesting project.


Photo ©SDEurope

There isn’t a lot to say about the Team Rhône-Alpes’ modular Canopea House; it really is less of a free-standing solar home than it is a model suite for a condo project, a slice of a much bigger building with solar panels on top.

I am really sympathetic to this idea; the greenest form of living is multifamily, and so many of the ideas that come up at the decathlon are pretty much exclusive to single family homes sitting in the sun. However there just isn’t very much here or at the team’s website.


Photo ©SDEurope

Prispa is Happy!

You can see why; they start their website with this intro:

We live here. We come from the place where tomatoes haven’t lost their taste, where you’ve had the best cabbage rolls, the best plum brandy, the best honey. All these wonders account for the charm of our very vibrant rural area.

A Prispa appears to be a porch,and is the focus of the house. The proposal is low on tech and high on appropriate design. “Our concept lies in capturing the essence of Romanian tradition through form, texture and technique.”

Counter Entropy

Photo ©SDEurope

Mies Van Der Rohe meets the RWTH Aachen University at the recycling center and builds Counter Entropy, a sort of Barcelona Pavilion with drapery. It is a lesson in design for deconstruction:

Reduce waste: We try to avoid inseparable connections between different materials while building our house. After the disassembly of our house all parts can be separated and recycled.

Reuse: We use components from used products. Those are either recycled or directly reused. This way they get a second usage before they return to their product cycle.

Conserving resources: We only use resources where it is really necessary. This is accomplished with our reusing concept but also with a thoughtful handling of building material.

Inhabitat notes:

The decor is really inspiring, especially since so many of the materials used are recycled. Pull out any drawer and the inside will be covered differently, as all storage materials were harvested from bulk rubbish. Light changes frequently thanks to the revolving waterproof curtain that responds to the changing conditions outside and a cantilevering roof provides shade, further bolstering the home’s energy efficiency. This team definitely didn’t play it safe, and we expect they will score big marks for innovation.

Omotenashi House

Photo ©SDEurope

Our mission is to create an innovative energy efficient solar powered home that will highlight ecological and social sustainability. Our aim is to revive and utilize Japanese aesthetic and sustainable traditions to produce a home that can suit the needs of the modern context.

And that’s all they write. No information about this house at all, but that is a very pretty interior photo, very Japanese combination of traditional and new.

Comments are closed.