Archive for September, 2012

30 September

Patio 2.12-Eko House-CEM’ Casas Em Movimento-Ekihouse-Astonyshine Designs of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links, below)

Please allow me to share our next sequence of designs at Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 at Madrid, Spain:

This is a composite of five designs of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012: Patio 2.12 of Andalucia Team of Universidades De Sevilla, Jaen, Granada Y Malaga of Spain;Eko House of Team Brazil of Universidade Federal De Santa Catarina Universidade de Sao Paulo of Brazil;CEM’ Casas Em Movimento of CEM+NEM Team of Universidade Do Porto of Portugal;Ekihouse of EHU Team of Universidad Del Country Vasco of Spain;and Astonyshine of Astonyshine Team of Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais Universita Di Ferrara Ecole Des Ponts Paristech Politecnico Di Bari of France-Italy.

In the first design of this clip, it is the Patio 2.12 of Andalucia Team. During winter, the patio becomes a greenhouse;its glass envelope captures solar radiation and the heated air is conducted to the conditioned rooms. At night the patio and room openings are closed, in order to decrease energy lost through the walls and to use the patio as a thermal transition between the conditioned inside and the open outside. During summer days, the solar radiation on the roof is controlled by the pergola, folding the glass panels and “opening” the patio, and letting the air flow through the vertical walls. Different wind pressures over the walls promote a continuous airflow through the patio. At night, the glass cover is extended and the airflow becomes horizontal through the opened walls of the patio. More details about this house at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKM9FylJGU4&feature=plcp

In the second segment, we welcome Team Brazil to Solar Decathlon Europe for the first time ever. Team Brazil is the only entrant from Americas (North & South Americas). Their Eko House construction is more concerned with the design and building process rather than high technology. The emphasis is in the human sustainability concept. Detailed description of this house will be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjJ-iViensQ

The third, “CEM’ CASAS EM MOVIMENTO”, House of Movement, is a house that tracks the sunlight;this enables its ability to optimize production of solar energy, reduction of heat consumption and reduction of interior lighting requirements. The house feeds itself from the sun following it as it rises and sets by a movement of approximately 180% from east to west. This sunflower effect, combining with movements of solar panels, maximizes solar gains. The production of energy from this house will be 2.5 times greater than the energy consumption needs of the house. Every movement of the house creates new interior and exterior spaces, adapting the house to one’s daily life throughout the day. More detailed description of this house is at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jq5T3CjJznU



The fourth, Ekihouse, of EHU Team of Spain, focused on reducing its energy needs and taking advantage of the natural resources of the location and use innovative systems to create the proper conditions for living. For more details of this house, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ehu_Team_-_EKIHOUSE_-_Spain_-_01.JPG
http://vimeo.com/47316719

The fifth and last design of this clip, Astonyshine of France-Italy, aims at integrating energy efficient technology with solar powered architecture, by dealing with six key issues: use of freestones, concentrated solar power systems (combining solar PV and thermal), control of PV field with electronic systems embedded into each module to extract maximum energy, research new design, material, and technology, search for optimal illumination (natural and/or artificial), and integration of architectural and structural design. More details on this house at: http://inhabitat.com/swooping-astonyshine-solar-decathlon-house-boasts-a-bold…

There is always more on solar energy & sustainability athttp://www.sunisthefuture.net
Any comments/questions/suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com
~have a bright and sunny day~
sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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29 September

Canopea House of France Came On Top, Para Eco-House of China, Counter Entropy House of Germany, Omotenashi House of Japan In Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links, below)

While visiting the eighteen houses in Villa Solar in Madrid, Spain, designed by university students from eleven countries, I was thoroughly impressed by their creative use of solar passive and active energy systems and  much consideration for reuse-recycling-conservation of all natural resources.

Of all eighteen designs that participated in Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012, one stood above all others in many respect, not only in the physical sense (the fact that this design represented a nanotower concept), but also due to its  special consideration for individuals’ relationship to nature and to community.  The Canopea House of Team Rhone-Alpes (of Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Grenoble of France)

Canopea of Rhone-Alpes of Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture de Grenoble of France, Winner of Solar Decathlon Europe of 2012: Nanotower (top) & Top Floor (bottom).Canopea is the winner of Overall, Comfort Conditions Contest, Functioning on the House Contest, and Innovation Contest

answered the modern concern for population density in the French alpine corridor cities where land is scarce and expensive (resulting from limited urban space due to presence of mountains and rivers): in terms of  space, comfort, investment and maintenance cost, reducing sense of isolation while increasing sense of community through shared living space on top floor (with common laundry, summer kitchen, relaxing place for the community, gardens, and storage boxes) and  communal gardening area, and connected transit network, services, and shops.  But the most inviting feature, for me, was the top communal floor where natural sunlight splashing down from the solar cell-patterned ceiling (truly reflecting the idea of human being living below the canopy), residents  swinging in various hammocks, BBQ, or converse with neighbors.  That sense of shared community chased away any feeling of  isolation often seen in urban sprawl.  This design truly is the most wholistic answer not just for our energy consumption but also our humanity.

The second house featured in this clip, Para Eco-House of  Tongji Team (of Tongj University of China),

Para Eco House of Tongji Team of Tongji University of China

combined both parametric and ecological strategies into the design of this house while utilizing passive and active energy systems in this project.  The concept of multi-layer skin emerged from a combination of Dao theory in Eastern philosophy and the theories of Michel Foucault in Western thought, especially the ideas of autonomy in architecture. The two philosophies merged, as did the active and passive energy systems, into a symbiotic relationship, with mutual benefit.  I was very intrigued by its external  lattice skin/rhomboid wall designed by a computer program written by Tongji University students, based on climate data collected from Madrid, Spain.  To name some of its ecological strategies:  PV panels, solar collector system, motorized sun tracking solar panels, PVT system, gray water treatment and ventilation aid, wetland filter system, water south heat pump with heat recovery unit, rain water harvesting, evaporating water cooling, architectural shading, inner courtyard ventilation, vertical green, composite skin system, VIP thermal proof wall, bamboo furniture, temperature-humidity independent control system, mist propagation system, LED lighting, etc.

Below, you will see this video clip composed of highlights of 4 designs of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 (details of these individual designs can also be found at our sunisthefuture Youtube Channel):


The third design in this clip, the Counter Entropy House
 

Counter Entropy House of RWTH Aachen University of Germany during Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

of

RWTH University from Germany, was based on the idea of optimizing resources and energy life cycle of a building in which the production,transport, and eventual disposal components were all considered. This house included products made from recycled material and direct or indirect object recycling (such as facade made from melted CD panels, the floor made from old beams of Aachener stadium, and the furnishing made from reused wooden boards collected from bulk rubbish). Counter Entropy design combined multifunctional and space-saving configurations to create maximum space by optimal use and adaptation to current situation.  Its coolest feature was the transparent moving wall, remotely controlled by IPad/notepad, as though magic was in place during a scene in Star Trek;this feature also provided most fantastic ventilation/fresh air. It was also based on the idea of a thermal cooling system being much more sustainable than climatizing the house with electricity.  So, the abandonment of a mechanical heat pump as the central element of the building services engineering was the main aim while a far-reaching use of solar thermal energy was used to provide the energy needed air-conditioning. The solar thermal energy provided significant advantages over the exclusive use of photovoltaic cells. The second system was the cooling ceiling fed by a  special fluid circle: rain water from the tank cools down the dispersion, water blended with PCM within the cold-storage tank via a heat exchanger.  The dispersion in the cold storage tank is pumped through the ceiling, cooling down the room temperature by means of radiation cooling.

The fourth and final segment of this clip was the Omotenashi House

Omotenashi House of Chiba University of Japan during Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

of the Chiba University of Japan, a new type of housing and lifestyle centered on promoting energy and food self sufficiency by reintroducing the agricultural environment into the residence.  Besides rice paddies in front and vegetations on side of the house, the plant factory (with controlled temperature and humidity) is seen being used for rapid, safe, and efficient cultivation of crops.  Engawa (an encounter space connecting the interior to exterior of the house) is  where one may encounter people, nature, the movement of time, or to enjoy activities such as growing plants or enjoying tea with visiting neighbors. The movable tatami mat units in the engawa allowed the semi outdoor space to be reconfigured, enabling a variety of living environments.  Omotenashi House was built from precise, robot-made units, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions during construction.  With the roof tile-shaped solar panels (as BIPV, building-integrated solar PV) , it can produce 1.7 times the electrical capacity produced by previous panels, while presenting the appearance of traditional Japanese roof.  Omotenashi House also used material such as Japanese tatami and recycled decking (regulating the indoor environment and produce low VOC’s).  Furthermore, these are all biodegradable sustainable materials.  This design from Japan definitely had thoughtfully considered our life with plants, link between indoor and outdoor, and health and sustainability of all.

Related sites:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sdeurope/sets/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sdeurope/sets/72157631649893199/
http://www.sdeurope.org/?lang=en

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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28 September

Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012 Director & Organizer

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

This video clip below is composed of two interviews taken place at Madrid, Spain (more specifically Villa Solar) on September 26, 2012, one with Director Javier Serra (from Ministerio de Formento or Ministry of Development), followed by one with Organizer of SDE 2012 Martin Gil Von Der Walde.


Between September 14-30, 2012, 18 teams from 11 countries (Germany, Brazil, China, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Romania) arrived in the Villa Solar at the Puerta del Angel site within Madrid’s Casa de Campo, to build 18 energy efficient houses.  For 15 days each house have undergone 10 contests with scoring.  The one consuming the least natural resources and producing the minimum waste in its lifetime would be the winner of the competition.

Solar Decathlon Europe originated from the American edition of the competition. The U.S. Department of Energy created the Solar Decathlon competition in 1999 and its first edition was held on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2002. The Polytechnic University of Madrid participated in the American editions in 2005 and 2007 and led to the agreement between governments of both countries on the launching of the first edition outside USA. The first edition of Solar Decathlon Europe was held in 2010 in Madrid with great success, with 200,000 people visiting the sustainable houses of the participating teams.This year, 2012, the second edition of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 is organized by the Ministry of Public Works, Madrid’s City Council and the Polytechnic University of Madrid, through its Higher Technical School of Architecture, and its principal sponsors are Schneider Electric and Kommerling.

Some of the special considerations that occurred in SDE 2012: reuse and conservation of all natural resources.  I applaud the Europeans for this consideration because this is even more critical in preservation of our planet.   Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012 offers a variety of activities related to sustainable energy, aiming to entertain and amuse children while helping them to realize the importance of caring for our environment and the advantage of house powered by solar energy.  One of the main novelties of this edition of SDE is the intelligent network or smart grid.  Solar Decathlon’s Micro Smart Grid connects and controls the whole electrical system from this micro grid, connecting the 18 houses in the Villa Solar, as well as organizational buildings, stands, marquees, services and even the electrical recharging points for electric vehicles at the Villa Solar.  The network, designed by Schneider Electric, could manage some 180,000 kWh in a year and effect a saving equivalent to 180 tons of CO2. In 2010 edition of SDE , participating houses produced three times as much energy as they consumed. Overall, they generated 6,177 kWh while they consumed 2,579kWh. The surplus energy was fed into the network for the benefit of people in the neighborhood. In 2012 edition of SDE, for the first time, any surplus energy generated can be fed into the city’s power network, enabling the city’s citizens to benefit from power generated by participating houses.

More posts to come covering Solar Decathlon Europe 2012….

Any of your comments/questions/concerns/suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com
There is always more on solar energy at http://www.sunisthefuture.net

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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27 September

Demonstration Against Austerity Measures In Madrid, Spain

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links, below)

On the eve of September 26, 2012, around 7:30 P.M., I arrived in the center of Madrid, Spain (for coverage of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012), in  midst of an excited crowd, full of tense emotions and discontentment.  My tired body trudged through what seemed like sea of humanity, dragging my luggage,  after the taxi cab driver refused to continue on due to demonstrators gathered to protest against  Spanish government’s announcement of Austerity measures (confirmed by several other travelers from Sweden) just announced on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.  I immediately became more alert, noting good segment of the crowd with worried look on their faces, mostly in their 20’s-30’s and occasional above 40’s, some smoking cigarettes while  looking down on the ground, some conversing in high pitched intensity level, periodic chanting and singing came in waves, scent of beer here and there…I did not detect any sense of danger or violence, just apprehension and the oppressive melancholy. I suspect these demonstrators had not carried any malice;they were simply frustrated and tired,  and out of the sense of desperation and lack of hope, they were letting out their steam/scream the only way they knew how….later I’ve discovered that some other Youtube clips only showed the worst segment of the demonstration.  During the fours hours that I’ve observed the demonstration, both the demonstrators and the police of Madrid were not particularly violent. I observed some police cars actually going out of their way to avoid hurting demonstrators.  I believe the worst clips seen on Youtube probably occurred during the last half hour between 11:30 P.M.-midnight, when the police cars were trying to clear the street of demonstrators.  Below, demonstrators were seen in Plaza De Las Cortes, Madrid, Spain, on the eve of September 26, 2012:


Even though my intended coverage for this trip to Spain was only for Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, I felt an obligation to record this moment in history…et voila…my friends…after all, Austerity measures will also impact the renewable energy.  The desperate determination of the Spanish people fighting against the consequences of the economic crisis and tight austerity measures also had presented itself in another form.  Apparently one mayor, Angel Vadillo, of a small Spanish community (Albuquerque, a municipality with a population 5,500 in Extremadura in the west of Spain), has been on a hunger strike for two months in front of the Ministry of Industry in Madrid.  As it turned out, it was solar power that kicked off Vadillo’s unusual protest in the first place: in January, Spanish Industry Minister Jose Mauel Soria cut all subsidies for new projects relating to renewable energies.  Albuquerque had staked its future in solar energy for the past two decades;five new facilities with a capacity of 250 megawatts had been planned prior to the subsidy cuts. With these plans being shelved, “That means that we will lose some 850 jobs,” said Vadillo.  It was estimated that the measure will cost approximately 10,000 jobs across the country.  Vadillo hoped to force the minister to at least take a seat at the negotiating table.  He began his mission by walking the 600 kilometers (311 miles) from his constituency to Madrid.  After the Minister of Industry refused to receive him, he decided to camp outside the building.  When that too failed to get him any result, he stopped eating on June 11 , 2012.  But now, Mayor Vadillo has become visibly emaciated, though his resolve still intact.  “I drink eight liters of honey water every day…that keeps me sharp,” he said.  An ambulance stops by to check on his health daily.  Even though one of the medical personnel commented that it’s become critical, but Vadillo intends to keep going.  Mayor Vadillo had long become a symbol for Spanish people’s struggle against the consequences of the economic crisis and tight austerity measures.  Once he had made his hunger strike public, Minister of Industry Soria did consent to a single meeting with Mayor Vadillo.  “Our talk was more of a monologue. I explained my position and the minister didn’t say a word except that I should reconsider my position.” Vadillo said.  Mayor Vadillo admits that solar subsidies in Spain had long been on the generous side and he wants to be able to negotiate a feasible solution through discussion with Minister Soria.

What I believe as the valuable take-away lessons for solar/renewable energy from our September 26, 2012, post of the Scottish (UK) experience and the recent Spanish experience are:

  1. The cost of Solar Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program would be best not coming from the government subsidies but  from the rate payers (consumers) in a tiered fashion, such that those of lowest tier (lowest power consumption and/or income) would not need to pay for the added cost due to solar FIT.   Rest of the electricity consumers would bear a slight increase in their annual bills proportionally thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government.
  2. It would be advisable to start the Solar FIT low, close to the avoided cost level, so to be able to approach the situation carefully and cautiously, and  reassess the situation (optimal Feed-In rate) at specific intervals  to avoid budget/financial difficulties.
  3. It is important not only having the representative(s) from the consumers/people, from the government, but also from the power/utility companies present at the negotiation table for any discussion involving electricity/power use.  It is of benefit to all (people, government, and utility companies) that the optimal method and rate would be implemented because it will be beneficial for the utility companies to continue having consumers/people connected to the grid.  It is certainly true that the government is at its best when  its people are able to live with hope and harmony.  Willingness to listen on the side of the government would be instrumental in arriving at this goal.
  4. It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.  DO NOT FORGET SOLAR THERMAL !!!  IT IS VERY FEASIBLE TO INSTALL SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEMS EVEN BEFORE INSTALLING SOLAR PV !!!

~may we all be able to have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage: http://www.sunisthefuture.net

Related Articles, below:

  1. ctpost.com: Spain, Greece launch austerity plans to secure aid
  2. garrigues: current situation and possible regulatory austerity measures in the Spanish renewable energy industry
  3. feed-in-tariffs in the United Kingdom

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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26 September

In Light of Scottish/UK Solar FIT, Don’t Forget Solar Thermal !!!

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Dear Friends & Viewers/Visitors/Readers,

(please click on red links, below)

During this month of September, right before covering the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, we took a detour to visit my sister-in-law currently residing in the community of Forres of Scotland.   Forres is a town situated in the north of Scotland on the Moray coast, approximately 25 miles east of Inverness. Forres has been a winner of the Scotland in Bloom award on several occasions. There are many geographical and historical attractions nearby such as the River Findhorn, and there are many historical artifacts and monuments within the town itself.  I call it a community because of the people I’ve met while visiting;they struck me as very grounded individuals with keen sense for their community’s welfare.  Besides some lovely characters who are working to start  transition community projects (community gardening, food coop, community newsletter, classes, etc.), I’ve  also had the opportunity to learn from a group of helpful people working at AES Solar Systems, who have been manufacturing solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) since 1979.  It was an eye-opening (and/or ear-opening) experience for me to find out the initial impact of Solar Feed-In-Tariff on their business.  Below, is the round table discussion by AES Solar Systems’ experts in the solar industry (especially in solar thermal or solar hot water heating system),  Campbell MacLennan, George Goudsmit, and Tristan Wolfe, and moderator Susan Sun Nunamaker:


It is important to keep in mind Tristan Wolfe’s comment regarding people getting into solar PV without having  considered the even more optimal purchase of solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems).   Perhaps consulting experts in the field prior to making any decision would be well advised.

In the process, I hope that my learned lessons/offered suggestions will be considered by countries that had not yet implemented solar FIT yet. Below, are such:

  1. The cost of Solar Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program would be best not coming from the government subsidies but  from the rate payers (consumers) in a tiered fashion, such that those of lowest tier (lowest power consumption and/or income) would not need to pay for the added cost due to solar FIT.   Rest of the electricity consumers would bear a slight increase in their annual bills proportionally thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government.
  2. It would be advisable to start the Solar FIT low, close to the avoided cost level, then gradually increase the feed-in rate according to the need. So to be able to approach the situation carefully and cautiously, and  reassess the situation (optimal Feed-In rate) at specific intervals  to avoid budget/financial difficulties.
  3. It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design, with or without incentive program such as feed-in-tariff.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.  DO NOT FORGET SOLAR THERMAL !!!  IT IS VERY FEASIBLE TO INSTALL SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEMS EVEN BEFORE INSTALLING SOLAR PV !!!

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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25 September

Counter Entropy House of RWTH Aachen University (Germany)-Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

Remember Solar Decathlon Europe is being held in Madrid, Spain this year, an international student competition to improve awareness for solar energy.  The RWTH Aachen University of Germany aims to create a new understanding of energy efficient buildings via the design Counter Entropy House.  The Counter Entropy House/concept has three goals in mind:

  1. Reduce waste: avoiding inseparable connections between different materials while building the house.  After disassembly of the house, all parts can be separated and recycled.
  2. Reuse: using components from recycled or directly reused products. So products get at least a second usage before returning to product cycle.
  3. Conserving resources: only using resources when/where it is really necessary and handling building material with thoughtfulness.

Counter Entropy House is a one story building designed for two, with a smooth transition between interior and exterior.  The site of construction is based on 20m x 20m platform.  The height is  80cm.  The flat roof is the main element of the house and covers the function of the living zones;it extends over the facade and offers a shaded place. The building can be classified in three vertical zones of privacy.  The first horizontal zone, the solid base, generates the first stage by raising the building from the ground and defining a clear border to the public space.  The second horizontal zone, the roof, creates the second stage of privacy by clearly defining the space from two sides. The third vertical zone is the most private created by the building envelope within the open space.  A curtain can be pulled  around the roof’s edge to enlarge the inner private zone.  The widely cantilevering roof allows the zones conjoin to one by dissolving the building’s envelope.  There is a smooth transition between the interior and exterior generated by the strong visual axes and intensified by the continuous floor and ceiling material, due to the clear zoning.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at this design, below:


~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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24 September

ReVolt House of TU Delft at Solar Decathlon Europe 2012

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

Another intriguing design at Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 awaits you!  This particular design, ReVolt House,  is created by students of the Technical University of Delft of the Netherland.  Considering how prevalent water is throughout the densely populated Netherland, its national concern for potential failure of its dikes, added to climate change,  it is no wonder that the design from a Netherland university  is combining floatation and rotation, offering a unique floating solar home solution, joining aspects of energy production, sustainability, adaptability, and life style.  The ReVolt House consists of three living zones (zones for sleeping, dining, and living), grouped in circular open floor layout, in response to the rotation of the house. The primary spaces revolve around a centrally located aesthetic bathing space. Each of these spaces has a technical  area associated with it (kitchen-dining area; home entertainment-living area;toilet-sleeping area).  During summer, the closed facade is facing the sun, preventing the interior from heating up.  During winter, the large glazed facade is constantly facing the sun, insuring sufficient amount of daylight for the interior as well as passive heat gains.  Throughout the day, the ReVolt House would rotate to frame the view of different landscape features.  By interlinking the inhabitants’ daily and seasonal natural cycles, the quality of living space is dramatically improved.  Sleeping area is designed to be flexible, easily accommodating different events.  Electricity and hot water are generated by the solar collectors on the roof.  Rainwater are collected at the bottom of the storage tank for future use.  The facade facing the sun heats up, causing stack effect, drawing air via ducts through the building. Water sprayed into the duct system. Evaporation causes cooling in the interior.  Let’s take a look at this unique design, below:


Please also take a look at www.revolthouse.com
Unfortunately, this particular design did not make it to Madrid, Spain for the competition…perhaps another year…but it certainly is a unique design that may answer much of the concern for residents in Netherland.

 

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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22 September

Solar Decathlon Europe 2012-SunBloc of London Metropolitan University (UK)

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

For our continuing report on Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, let me start by answering some basic questions about Solar Decathlon, please click on the red link, below:

Solar Decathlon Frequently Asked Questions.  Again, keep in mind that this year, the Solar Decathlon Europe is taking place in Madrid, Spain, from September 14-30, 2012. The participating teams are:

  • Arts et Métiers ParisTech (France)
  • Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary)
  • Chiba University (Japan)
  • École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble (France)
  • Hochschule Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (Germany)
  • London Metropolitan University (United Kingdom)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)
  • RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
  • Team Andalucía: Universidad de Sevilla, Universidad de Granada, Universidad de Malaga, and Universidad de Jaén (Spain)
  • Team Brasil: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina and Universidade de São Paulo
  • Team Bucharest 2012: “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Politehnica University of Bucharest, and Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest (Romania)
  • Team Rome: Roma Tre University and Sapienza Università di Roma (Italy)
  • Technical University of Denmark (Denmark)
  • Tongji University (China)
  • Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (Spain)
  • Universidad del País Vasco—Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (Spain)
  • Universidade do Porto (Portugal)
  • Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya (Spain).

Today, I want to share with you a really cool design called SunBloc, submitted by the team Heliomet of the London Metropolitan University (UK). You will see the power of linking the digital creative process with the digital fabrication as the strength of this team and may very well be the future of architecture.  I liked the way this design had been referred to as the “eco-warrior in a fine Italian suit” by some that relies on traditional passive technique to present a very contemporary concept through advanced digital software. It is tailored to site’s specific needs, energy pattern, and context, relying on cross ventilation strategy and thermo-cooling.  If one can provide the latitude and longitude of the house/site, then the software package will output the cutting pattern for the timber and a house that will arrive on site….tailoring a building digitally to the particular context of the building, to its climate conditions, material available, etc.  Due to the introduction of the incentive policy Feed-In-Tariff in UK in 2011, it is introducing rapid change in adoption of solar power/PV in UK. The team is heavily into PR in three stages: social media, press, and sponsorship.
~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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21 September

Solar Decathlon Europe Has Arrived!Canopea Leading The Way In Architecture Contest.

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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A quick reminder that Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) of 2012 has begun, taking place in Madrid, Spain, between September 14-30, 2012. SDE resulted from the Spanish and U.S. governments having signed a memorandum of understanding in which the Spanish Ministry of Housing committed to organize and host Solar Decathlon Europe, a complementary competition to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.  This month, I will be bringing you quite a few clips and posts on visits to various solar designs. For today, it is the design of Canopea by the Rhone-Alps Project of France that had taken the lead for Prize of the Architecture Contest.

Canopea answers the problems of densification of the cities, the Team Rhone-Alps came up with the innovative solar project of habitat integrating qualities of the individual habitat within a urban context.  Canopea is a collective of “nanotowers” (small buildings), inscribed within a neighborhood.  Nanotowers are a series of individual homes, stacked together in  a small tower, with a common floor/space shared by  inhabitants on the top of each tower. Nanotowers are all connected to the city, transit network, services and shops. Concept of an urban ecosystem is based on connections between buildings on the scale of a neighborhood, district, and the city, pulling together every energy systems available (thermo, electric smart grid and home automation systems). The design itself is inspired by the canopy, the upper portion of branches and foliage of a tree. It works as a real ecosystem to catch 95% of the solar energy and 30% of the precipitation. The canopea project also includes the agricultural possibility and reduces the environmental footprint of the project by making it partially  self sufficient  for food by having a portion of the project surface area devoted to growing herbs and vegetables that may be used directly for cooking.  A vertical farm located at the central space of the block provides large space for agrarian productions. The skin is the thermal envelope of the nanotower homes while the shell supports the photovoltaic system and lateral blind to filter sunlight.  On each floor, canopea is organized around three boxes. A prefabricated core containing all fluids and  technical system.  Common space allows residents to socialize, children to play, place to BBQ, and laundry area. Two top floors of the nanotower have been built for the Solar Decathlon 2012.  For passive system: In summer the skin is protected from the sun by louvre, venetian shutters,  and micro-perforated sunscreen. This cooling will not consume any energy.  The active system cools the house via air supply and radiant panels which also allows heating in winter.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at the Canopea design, below:


~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture @gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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19 September

SRCC (Solar Rating & Certification Corporation) & OG-100, OG-300

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Terrific!  I was given another opportunity to edit/add to the wikipedia page (my karmic point for mankind)!  This time it is on Solar Water Heating of the wikipedia.  Under item 10 for Standards: United States is no longer absent ! More details will unfold below, thanks to Executive Director Eileen Prado and Assistant Technical Director Tomas Koenig.

Allow me to share with you an interview with Tomas Koenig, the Assistant Technical Director of SRCC (Solar Rating & Certification Corporation), on September 13, 2012, at Orange County Convention Center, during the SPI (Solar Power International) 2012, in Orlando, FL, below:


The SRCC established its certification and rating program for solar collectors in November, 1980, through a 1979 Department of Energy grant. There are currently two certification programs available at SRCC: OG-100 collector certification and OG-300 for system certification. The need for one national standard was recognized when Florida, California, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and SEIA all recognized that each of their individual solar collector and rating programs were not recognized nor accepted by the other. “This lack of reciprocity meant that solar equipment manufacturers had a maze of requirements to satisfy if they wanted to carry on an interstate or national marketing program. One centralized certification was desperately needed.” (Block, 2005) This quote and much of SRCC historical background were provided by Executive Director of SRCC Eileen Prado. Since 1980, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made a very substantial technical and financial investment in the SRCC and the development of the standards. The full standard investment, benefit, and support of the DOE SHC (Solar Heating & Cooling) Program, the DOE National Laboratories, DOE collaborative universities and industry resources went into developing a single consensus OG-300 standard on behalf of SRCC. A national standard (OG-300) addresses concerns such as safety and health, durability and reliability, installation, performance, and operation and maintenance. A certified solar water heater carries the SRCC OG-300 label, and the system performance is listed in a published directory. A similar program has been established for Florida by FSEC (Florida Solar Energy Center). Both SRCC and FSEC provide collector testing and rating programs. So, the next question should be asked: are there significant difference between these two standards/programs or are they simply functioning as a check and balance for one another or perhaps there is some other reason I have not yet considered.

Some good points to remind consumers thinking of purchasing solar collectors: It is also a good idea to confirm if there is a warranty program (duration, what is covered,and what to do if the supplier goes out of business);make sure that installers are qualified by asking for references;do a thorough walk-through with the contractor upon completion of the installation;be sure that an owner’s manual with maintenance instructions is included as part of the package.

Some related articles:
OG-300 Certification of Solar Water Heating Systems
NREL(National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Dept of Energy, Information Services Program, EREC (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse), DOE/GO-10096-050 FS 119, March 1996
Solar Water Heating of wikipedia
Florida Solar Energy Center
OG-100 & OG-300 Participant Fee Schedule

Please feel free to visit http://sunisthefuture.net for more on solar energy.
Again, any of your comments, suggestions, questions, concerns are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

~have a bright and sunny day~
sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage:  http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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