The 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe competition officially kicks off on 14 September, but 20 teams from 15 different are racing like mad to put the finishing touches on their respective prefab homes - including team Roma. Competing for the first time, the group from Italy wanted to construct a home that would perform well in the Mediterranean, but given that they had to prefabricate their solar-powered dwelling, this turned out to be quite challenging. Hit the jump to find out how the Med in Italy project achieves such amazing thermal massing.
Combining hi and lo technology to create a comfortable powerhouse suitable for the Mediterranean climate, team Roma focused a lot of attention on Med in Italy’s thermal massing. Being a more eco-friendly material with strong seismic properties, wood comprised the group’s material of choice – even though it doesn’t perform as well in terms of protecting the interior from heat or cold.
As a result, the students opted for timber framing that can accommodate heavy infill. Sand, soil or other materials with good thermal properties can be sourced locally, once the remaining modules have already been shipped, and easily inserted. A cantilevering roof provides shading and careful orientation mitigates solar gain in summer while optimizing winter-time solar collection. Building integrated photovoltaic panels provide the home with more energy than it needs and the whole building snaps together in a jiffy!