Things are heating up in the 2010 European Solar Decathlon as Team Finland has unveiled a beautiful net-zero home designed for cold climates with little access to the sun. That means that when the team’s home is up and running in Madrid, which gets plenty of sun, their home will turn into a energy generating machine, creating more energy than it uses. Named Luukku, which is Finnish for “hatch”, Team Finland’s entry was inspired by traditional Finnish architecture and centered almost completely around the use of timber.

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As wood is one of Finland’s most abundant resources, it’s only natural that the home be centered around the use of the material. Timber is used extensively throughout the Luukku house for the structure, insulation, cladding, interior floor, wall and ceiling finishes. The home’s high-efficiency insulation is achieved using thick and tight insulation and quadruple-glazed frameless units fixed directly to the frame for windows. Energy-efficient equipment, grey water recycling, and building materials with a low carbon footprint help the home achieve a low overall environmental footprint.

The home’s most notable feature, however, is a photovoltaic system designed to achieve zero-energy status in Finland. Coupled with all the other systems and a solar hot water heater, this could give Team Finland a distinct advantage during competition in sunny Madrid, where they are likely to achieve plus-energy status, generating more power than they need.

Team Finland is comprised of an inter-disciplinary collaboration between the School of Science and Technology, the School of Art and Design and the School of Economics at Aalto University. Almost 100 people have been involved in the construction of the Luukku House from start to finish, and it has the potential to be a serious competitor at next week’s Solar Decathlon in Europe. Good luck to all the teams!

+ Team Finland

+ Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat