The Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 is set to kick off in just a few weeks, so we're bringing you a sneak peak at some of this year's most exciting solar-powered homes. Whereas Portugal's team shot for the stars with their high-tech moving design, the team from Romania has opted for a simpler approach by using existing technologies in new and innovative ways. Their prefabricated PRISPA house features building-integrated photovoltaic panels that produce 20% more energy than the home consumes (at least in Romania) and sandwich load-bearing panels with built-in thermal insulation.
This is the first time that Romania will compete in the Solar Decathlon competition, so it’s exciting that they were bold enough to go for a low-impact approach. Their building materials consist of engineered wood with the same strength as regular timber, along with some regular timber and steel. This allows them to keep both their environmental footprint and costs to a minimum.
To further increase efficiency, all of the technical infrastructure such as the HVAC systems and the energy converters are all lumped together in one technical room. In Romania it produces 9501kWh/yr and consumes 7508.11kWh/yr – about 20% more than it needs. The prototype cost €120,000 to build, but in time the team hopes that their prefabricated home will sell for €70,000. A hybrid space that blurs the boundary between indoors and outdoors, PRISPA makes technology less intimidating for those who enjoy the simple life.
images via Cosmin Dragomir