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Andalucia, Madrid, Solar Decathlon, sustainable design, prefabricated construction, solar power, photovoltaics, ceramics,

The final design submitted to competition will link four different modules to the central patio which is enclosed in glass and a faux-vine effect. This is designed to give a natural feel while creating shade from the hot sun during the day, while allowing enough natural light into the building. The exterior walls contain an air chamber enclosed with ceramics, replicating a local “water jug” idea in order to aid in self-regulating room temperature. The intention is that ceramics will transpire in hot weather, creating a drip irrigation effect throughout the building that aids cooling, but when the temperature drops, so the ceramics become colder and the irrigation halts.

The designers intend to link the irrigation system to grey-water recycling from the house. The water will be filtered through sand and selected plants such as a reed bed outside the house to help remove impurities before being re-used.

To provide the home’s expected electrical requirements, each of the four modules have been fitted with a photovoltaic array. The Andalusian team intend to slope the four ceilings at different angles, to maximize solar capture throughout the day. The PV system will be fitted with a battery located within the building that holds its charge and thus should allay any fears about night-time usage. The students think the solar panels should create three times as much electricity as a normal family home would actually use so the surplus would be available to sell back to the grid in countries where such programs are in place.

The Andalusian team have also considered the impact of their building, not only in terms of construction, but also in terms of removal. The structure has been designed to not require foundations as it sits on a reinforced plinth. The prefabricated construction can just as easily be dismantled as built, and once the plinth has been removed, the house will leave no footprint. In terms of market potential this creates opportunities for the design to be utilized in temporary structures (such as disaster relief sites) as well as for housing.

The Solar Decathlondesign is intended as a family home, and the four modules have been furnished accordingly with the expected creature comforts completed to a high standard and, as such, hopes are high for a Spanish success in the upcoming event in Madrid.