Girasole House Rotation from Liz Eve on Vimeo
DNA Architects were commissioned by builder John Andriolo of MAG Constructions, who, as a youth studying in Italy, dreamed of building a house that followed the sun. The home’s name comes from the Italian words “girare” and “sole” – meaning “to turn” and “sun.” The slow and silent movements are calculated to take full advantage of natural resources and maximise efficiency of a 10.5Kw solar array.
Girasole turns incrementally according to a program that figures where the sun is located in the sky throughout the day. Residents can also take charge of the rotation via an iPad to fully rotate the home in less than 10 minutes; the video shows a timelapse of the house turning. Over the summer months, the solar array has produced far more electricity and hot water than the occupants use, giving them a healthy surplus on their bill.
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Other measures bolster the home’s efficiency as well. Double glazed living room windows allow winter sun to warm the house when facing north, while in summer the house can turn away from the sun to protect itself with smaller windows and a Low-E glazing system that reflects the heat. Carbon neutral Weathertex cladding manufactured from timber tailings and natural wax combined with 100mm foam insulation protects the house from heat in summer and cold in winter.
Natural ventilation via excellent cross ventilation is supplemented by fans that lift or push air down according to the season while the top windows in the living area can be opened to allow summer heat to escape. Linked to a frame on 28 wheels, two silent rotating motors underneath the house only require the energy of a light bulb to operate.
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With LED lighting and efficient appliances throughout, you’d imagine the house must score the highest possible natHERS energy efficiency rating. However, Girasole presents a challenge to existing green building labels, as ratings assume buildings are static on it’s base.
The house received a coveted 6 star rating, but if the assessors were able to take into the account the movement, the architects believe a higher rating would be achieved. With other rotating solar projects around the globe attracting interest, could this be the start of a quiet revolution in solar-powered home design?
+ DNA Architects
Photos by Liz Eve for Inhabitat