Andalucia Pulls Into 2nd Place With Smart, Efficient Design

We’ve been bringing you periodic updates on the results of the Solar Decathlon Europe competition this week, in anticipation of the announcement of the overall winner at the end of the month. Ten factors make up the various scoring categories of the competition, and each of these categories comprises its own mini-contest, with its own top-scoring projects.

Earlier this week, we brought you word that the Canopea home by the team from Rhône-Alpes, France, had taken first prize in the Architecture contest, with Counter Entropy, by the team from RWTH Aachen University (Germany) pulling in second — and that the German ECOLAR solar home had taken the top prize in Engineering and Construction contest, followed by Hugary’s Odooproject. Now we bring you the results of the Energy Efficiency portion of the competition.

Patio 2.12

image via Team Andalucia

The top score in this category went to the Patio 2.12, the brainchild of a group culled from a number of universities across the Andalusia region of Spain. This home, like MED in Italy (which took third place in the Architecture portion of the contest) combines solar power and modern design with traditional Mediterranean aesthetics. Inhabitat reports that Patio 2.12 house makes use of modular buildings with a shaded courtyard at their heart that can be configured in different ways, depending on the needs of the homeowner.

Prefab here means greenfab, minimizing wasted materials while increasing the ease of set up (a key factor for all Solar Decathlon Europe homes, which had to be transported from their home countries and set up at the Villa Solar in Madrid in just two weeks). Timber from sustainably managed forests is the primary building materials here, with individual living modules lined with ceramics for smart temperature control — a modern variation on classic a Andalusian cooling strategy, the clay water jug.

Ceramic chambers in the walls of the house are filled with water recycled from household activities such as showers or washing the dishes (after having been filtered for impurities). These ceramic walls sweat in hot weather, transpiring water vapor into the air and creating a drip irrigation effect throughout the building that aids cooling. When the temperature drops, this effect disappears, and this natural air-conditioning system switches itself off.

All materials used in the home were chosen to embody the principles of Cradle-to-Cradle design.

The Patio 2.12 home also took first place prizes in the Innovation, Balance of Electricity and Communication categories of the Solar Decathlon Europe competition this year, bringing it into second place overall with 671.39 points, right behind Canopea from the Rhones-Alpes team.

PRISPA

image via Team Romania

Second place in the Energy Efficiency contest went to Team Romania for PRISPA. And while this grid-postive house — which generates nearly twice as much energy as it requires –may not be one of the top contenders in the race for top dog at the Solar Decathlon Europe, it has already found a buyer, which speaks highly of its potential in the market for solar homes.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.