Team China’s model home for the Solar Decathlon boldly combines recycling and solar energy. The cargotecture Y Container, submitted by Shanghai's Tongji University students, uses six recycled shipping containers as its structural base to create a home that is not only low cost, but easy to transport. The home also optimized energy efficiency by employing a number of innovative sustainable technologies.
The Y Container allows residents to live just about anywhere freely, with self sufficient off-grid energy sources and a lightweight mobile design. The home has three verandas that face the surrounding landscape, each capped with an open porch for enjoying the fresh air of the outdoors. Wooden screens line the perimeter of the façade, and can be rolled back to reveal the open interior.
The flat roof is lined with photovoltaic panels. It transfers the heat collected from the sun to heat the Y Container’s floor, as well as the hot water used within. The temperature of the interior is also passively controlled with vacuum insulation, blocking heat loss and gain.
Each wing of the home acts like a natural ventilation tunnel, creating a continuous flow of air. The wings, made with double-wide shipping containers, meet at a triangular point in the center, which siphons out hot air and keeps fresh air circulating when the windows and doors of the wings are closed. Rainwater is harvested, purified and stored on site. Lining the outside of the home are a series of plants which provide oxygen, cool breezes and fresh vegetables.
The Y Container was made for the young budget-conscious Chinese couple in Shanghai, who were unable to afford independent housing. Y Container provides the couple with a private home, while also giving way to savings on utilities and enabling a lower carbon footprint.