The numbers are in: the Prêt-à-Loger team has won the Sustainability Award at this year's Solar Decathlon for their home with a skin of solar panels. Students at the Delft University of Technology designed their House with a Skin as a renovation project inspired by greenhouses typical of the Dutch town Honselersdijk. Team Prêt-à-Loger decided to keep the overall design of a traditional three generation home, and envelop it in a skin made of solar panels. They will show their extraordinary solar-powered home design at the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe.
Instead of demolishing the house, which lacked space, comfort and consumed around 175 euro of energy each month, the team decided to improve the climate and spatial performance of the house while preserving its cozy feel. They put an extra layer over the existing structure- an adaptable glass structure was placed over the house, creating extra space and making the garden usable year round. This was done with the typical Dutch home in mind, in which ‘space’ and ‘garden’ are the two most important aspects of urban living.
In winter the skin will create a buffer zone, with temperatures suitable for a winter garden, while the living space will continue to function as the ‘warm core.’ This allows for growing produce even during winter. In spring, the temperatures in the skin become comfortable enough to make it function as an extension of the living room. In the summer, the skin adapts to this by opening up completely so inhabitants can make full use of their garden.