Created by an international team of students from Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, the Techstyle Haus competed in 2014’s European Solar Decathlon competition. The house, at a modest 825 square feet, uses 90% less energy for heating and cooling as a conventionally built home of similar size footprint, and features a solar-powered infrastructure.
Solar Powered 825 Square Foot House
A curved shell exterior is made from a flexible textile material and framed with steel ribbing.
This material, called Sheerfill II Architectural Membrane, is the same stuff used to create the roofs of domed sports stadiums and airplane hangars.
Heat from appliances and occupants’ bodies is recycled to minimize the energy required the keep the house warm. When the outside temperature rises, phase-change materials in the house’s mechanical core change from solid to liquid, trapping unwanted heat in the process. When the temperature cools, the materials solidify, releasing that trapped heat to keep the house warm. Even greywater from sinks, showers and appliances is filtered and recycled to irrigate gardens that surround the house’s exterior walls.
While this house may offer a lot in the efficiency department, it looks a bit sterile and ‘harsh modern’. The soft contour of the roof and walls remind me of a spaceship capsule from a future Mars mission than a cozy retreat in the woods. I do like that deck though!
For more information on this solar-powered house, visit the Techstyle Haus website.