Universidad Cardenal Herrera University CEU in Valencia, Spain is entering Solar Decathlon Europe for the second time, improving on its SML (Small/Medium/Large) system from 2010. The concept reminds us of Lego, because the house is constructed from fairly simple individual prefabricated blocks, which can be added together and customized over time. Using locally-sourced timber to create the basic frames, a PV array and carefully considered temperature regulation methods, and extremely efficient appliances, the team hopes to create a customizable house that will last a lifetime.
The design entered into this year’s competition represents the “medium” design, so the students can show both how the original blocks fit together, and how the house could be expanded. In terms of sustainability, the team has looked at every aspect of materials and resources used in construction and in the expected life-cycle of the building. The team sought to minimize waste via prefabrication, utilizing sustainable materials, maximizing what can be recycled, and reducing construction time.
They have worked on an easily replicated design for the individual modules that are prefabricated in their workshop, but aim to show how the interiors can be customized. In this way, the client can play an increased role in the designs for the final building. Each block comes equipped with a solar array, and therefore the electrical output increases as the house grows, thus continuing to match the residents energy requirements.
The team also designed a CAES system (Computer Aided Energy Saving), which assists residents by scheduling when to use the household appliances. This includes using the washing machine or dishwasher during the day to run directly from the solar panels, so as not to run off the battery storing electricity required at night, while also making the most of solar heated hot water, thus making a double saving on more conventional systems. They also intend to regulate the LED lighting throughout the house, providing the optimal amount of light required at any given time.
A grey-water recycling system will be integrated into the design to make best use of precious resources. By collecting used water from the kitchen and bathroom and filtering this to be re-used for toilet flushing and for watering the garden a further saving is made. The house also utilises passive strategies to regulate room temperature, referred to as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning). The designers have considered strategies including orientation of the building, the use of thermal mass flooring, solar protection and gain as well as natural ventilation.
via InnDea Valencia