The European Solar Decathlon takes place this summer, and the competition is already heating up with some stunning designs for zero energy homes! One of the first we’ve seen is the FabLab House from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. Completely unlike any of the designs we saw in the US competition, the solar panel-coated passive house is rounded and built off the ground.

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Every other year the Solar Decathlon takes place in Europe, and this year it will take place in Madrid in June. European entries are beginning to show and are certain to be just as fabulous as the houses we saw in the fall on the mall in Washington DC.

Much like the US competition, each team designs their home for a specific location with a specific climate and solar resource. The FabLab House was designed as an ellipsoid structure prefabricated from wood that is formed into a rib-like structure. Although this specific house was designed for Madrid’s solar resource, it could easily be adapted to other climates by changing the ellipsoid. Built on top of three legs, the home has a space underneath to allow for air to circulate and help ventilate it naturally.

Smart systems help monitor and control the home’s temperature and energy use, while passive design increases efficiency and minimizes consumption. A customized photovoltaic skin coats the roof, which also acts to collect rainwater. When the home is built for the competition, it will also come with a garden capable of growing food. It looks like a really exciting and impressive start to the Solar Decathlon: Europe Edition, and we can’t wait to see more great solar prefab designs.

+ FabLab House

+ Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

+ Solar Decathlon Europe