Technische Universität Darmstadt Takes First Place at Solar Decathlon 2007

Solar Decathlon Winner 2007

It’s pretty unbelievable to see all these cool houses at Solar Decathlon.  I mean, why can’t all houses look like this?  Late yesterday, it was announced that the Technische Universität Darmstadt team from Germany took first prize.  Congratulations!  Word on the street is that this house was consistently swarmed with visitors the entire week.  Rightfully so, too.

The trademark feature of their home is the oak louvered frames, almost like plantation shutters, that surround the home.  They’re built with integrated photovoltaics to provide that extra amount of solar power.  Visitors also seemed to love the floor-integrated bed and storage system.  With everything “Made in Germany,” the subtle touches and green materials are so compelling, so German-engineered.  And as you can see from the images below, this team expects various applications for the home, from vertical loft to outdoor retreat, and everything in between.


Now that they’ve won, the home will be shipped back to campus in Germany to serve as a “power plant” of sorts.  Right now, the campus is retrofitting buildings with integrated photovoltaics to feed electricity into the power grid, because there’s a solar feed-in tariff in Germany that provides a guaranteed price for any solar power that is piped into the grid.  To finance the installation of the photovoltaics, the university is selling shares to the public and they’ll pay the profits gained from the feed-in tariff to the shareholders.  So this home’s going back to start making money for the university!  What an interesting world where clean tech is incentivized and rewarded?











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  • Lee

    Nice but- from a practical standpoint having so many small modules on movable doors and louvers creates umpteen opportunities for electrical problems. For the sake of reliability it’s best to have panels in a
    fixed array facing south. Like many architectural endeavors, beautiful but not very practical.

  • Preston

    @Lee –

    Well, a lot of people say the same thing with products like solar slates, or any type building integrated photovoltaics. You gotta do it right, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do it at all.

  • Escondito Martinez

    As a homeowner for years, and who recently had a situation where a strong wind blew a section of siding off my house and down the street, I wonder about the durability and maintenance involved in having oak full length folding louvered shutters around an entire house, let alone, as another poster mentioned, having them part of the PV electric system. Would they be working fine after 20 years of weather? What about pulling leaves out of the louvers or washing dirt or bird crap off them.

    Would sleeping or sitting in a pit in the floor be all that enjoyable? Or would it be like sitting in one of those Z chairs? uber-Stylish but uncomfortable.

    I’m not saying the German house might not have been fully deserving of the win, but I am not excited by the exterior of a louvered box. Nice photos of it though, thanks! On the other hand, I love the Maryland house interior. I think it is a dream, with the windows in the north side of the ceiling.

  • timber shutterssunshinecoast house.and nice picture

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