Solar Decathlon Europe is a biennial competition between university research teams to design and build resource and energy efficient houses. The Prêt-à-loger team is on schedule to represent TU Delft at next summer's 2014 edition in Paris.
At their office space at the D:Dream lab building Matthios Zarmpis, project manager, and Osama Naji, marketing director, explained how the competition proposal is progressing.
Prêt-à-loger is an ambitious concept which goes further than just applying electricity from solar power in a house. It deals with the challenge of adapting an existing house and allowing it to evolve to a more general sustainable use pattern. Using the tools provided inhabitants will be able to keep living in their home while this evolution takes place since the changes are concentrated in an external skin. “The French organisers loved the idea. It was very well received by the organization during a workshop held in Paris in March this year” said Matthios.
TU Delft's previous proposal for SDE 2012, which involved an ambitious revolving floating solar house only made it to the halfway development stage. TU Delft, however, left the competition considering the proposal financially unviable.
For 2014 the Delft team are tailoring their approach to Dutch row houses and feasibility is important. They aim to keep the costs as low as possible to make a transition to production as real an option as possible.
Current project status
The team successfully met the latest deadline at the beginning of November for submission of project specifications to the competition organisers in France. Once approved actual manufacture of the house can begin in January 2014. It will be assembled on the competition site at Versailles outside Paris for exhibition together with the other 19 entries in June 2014. The winner will not receive a specific prize as the aim of the competition is to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration.
Positive collaborative experience
The current entry grew from an initiative of international students at the Faculty of Architecture who worked to obtain university approval for participation. After applying the SDE organisers short listed Prêt-à-Loger to compete. Team members have come and gone in the past.
Students typically have to dedicate time to the project outside their normal study work load. However, the composition of the team has developed into a multidisciplinary collaboration between international and Dutch students. Matthios and Osama praised the positive side effect of working alongside Dutch fellow students of the Prêt-à-Loger team.