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Solar Decathlon – building envelope: the E-Cube in different climates

For the Solar Decathlon 2011 competition, the U.S. Department of Energy defied student teams from all over the world to conceive a house powered exclusively by the sun. Team Belgium, of Ghent University, conceived the E-Cube, a modular and flexible house that can be adapted depending on the inhabitants, the building site and the climate. This course focused on that last aspect: the robustness and flexibility of the concept and the design towards various climates.
The analysis considered climates with extreme winters (Saskatoon), arid climates (Las Vegas) and milder climates (Ukkel and Washington D.C.). The students used the local, Flemish EPB-software and the internationally used Passive House (PHPP) software to assess the energy performance while Trnsys was used for further analysis of the building’s dynamic thermal response. They tested the energy robustness and proposed alternative solutions for the building envelope, adapting the building to its boundary conditions.