Sunday Solar Photo of the Day – March 4, 2018

This Sunday Solar Photo of The Day is of the Fab Lab House, a concept building in Madrid that won the Peoples’ Choice Award at the 2010 Europe Solar Decathlon competition. The Decathlon was started by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2002 to push the boundaries of sustainable building.

Since then the competition has expanded to Africa, China, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the the Middle East.

The specific rules vary a bit each year, but the basics remain the same: design and build self-sufficient, solar-powered houses equipped with technologies enabling maximum energy efficiency.

Fab Lab made the construction possible

Fab Lab stands for digital “fabricating laboratory” More than 100 have been set up around the world  “to inspire people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by giving them access to a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology.”

Shepherds in Norway used their FabLab to create a system for tracking sheep using their mobile phones. In Ghana, people an innovative truck refrigeration system is powered by the vehicle’s own exhaust gases.

The developers of this house were the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and the Center for Bit and Atoms of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Truly an international project, a the team of technicians, architects, designers and others of 25 different nationalities came together to create the house.

Watch how it all came together in the videos below

The driving philosophy behind the house is ‘form follows energy’. Following this approach, the structure was developed “as an organism to be inhabited.”

INterior of Fab Lab House - Madrid

The Fab Lab Madrid house is made of wood with solar panels on its roof (back?). The interior has a bedroom, kitchen, a small Fab Lab, a bathroom and an elevated small room for invited guests to sleep. There are a ton of photos on the Fab Lab House website

The solar house also introduced significant technological innovations for the time – and we have come a long way in 8 years!  It used the world’s most efficient flexible solar panels and paved the way with breakthroughs in the architectural integration of solar systems. “We wanted to overcome the idea that a solar house is a traditional house with solar panels on top and a lot of technology inside. Our project is a full solar house, a new generation of building that visitors have come to appreciate.” said the co-director of the project.

Upcoming Solar Decathlons

The last U.S. Solar Decathlon was held in Denver in October 2017 and was won by the Swiss Team (along with $300,000!).

Upcoming Decathlons are:

Solar Decathlon China 2018: Dezhou, Shandong province, China

Europe 2019:  July 2019, Szentendre, Hungary

Latin America/Caribbean 2019: Cali Colombia

Africa: Date and Location to be announced. Request For Proposals distributed December 2017

Middle East: Dubai, 2020


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