As September draws near, 20 collegiate design teams from around the world are finalizing their projects for the 2012 Solar Decathlon in Europe - and team Germany's ECOLAR house is a very efficient modular dwelling that can expand and shrink in accordance with its residents' needs and finances. In addition to the semi-transparent photovoltaic panels integrated into the building's facade, the flat roof's array of panels generate far more energy than the home requires.
Even though ECOLAR is a veritable solar powerhouse, that hasn’t prevented the team from Germany from maximizing the home’s energy efficiency. Why waste energy, even if it is renewable, right? Enriched clay plates on the roof absorb heat and regulate temperature, and the Lucido facade has more or less the same capability. The SDE 2012 entry has six modules, four of which are interior and two form patios, but the design can be as small or large as the customer wants. Everything can be customized, including columns, walls, windows and even the roof.
In order to achieve this kind of flexibility, the construction has to be enormously precise – which may well be the German team’s most impressive selling point. ECOLAR is more than just a home, according to the team. It’s a philosophy that strives to maximize each home’s ecologic, economic, modular and solar design. Oh, and did we mention that they have incorporated a wastewater treatment system as well? Yup. They have covered the bases and we can’t wait to see the home in person.