Rhone Alpes wins the 2012 European Solar Decathlon
The French Rhone Alpes team has won this year’s European Solar Decathlon with its ecological modular home concept. Dubbed Canopea, the prefabricated prototype home has been designed so that a series of Canopea modules can be stacked on top of one another, creating a “nanotower” which could house up to ten families. The concept is hoped to foster the development of sustainable community living in urban areas, while also taking advantage of the sun’s energy through an integrated system of rooftop photovoltaic panels.
Currently the modular two-level home is capable of producing enough energy to meet the entire home’s electrical demands and also charge a small electric vehicle. However, this would obviously not be the case for the nanotower concept.
Canopea’s interior design features a large open living and kitchen space, which is equipped with a unique floor-to-ceiling mobile cabinet on wheels. The cabinet can be moved around to facilitate different uses of the space, be it a private study area or a temporary guest room. Furthermore, a storage wall cleverly disguises and stores a series of portable furniture elements that can be transformed into a bed, table or office.
The interior walls have been treated with a soil-based coating to provide thermal and acoustic qualities, while also helping to regulate the home’s humidity. Wooden flooring has been featured in the living, kitchen, office and corridor areas, while the bedroom flooring has been covered with a smooth earth coating for its aesthetic appearance.
The top floor of the home has been specifically designed to offer an enjoyable communal space and environment, in cases where nanotowers are developed. The area offers residents a practical shared zone where they can carry out domestic activities like washing and drying clothes. It also comes equipped with a summer kitchen and a barbecue area, a large open space for entertaining, as well as a play area for children.
Out of 18 finalists from across Europe, the Solar Decathlon saw the Spanish team take a very close second place for its Andalucia home, while the third place went to the Italian team for its MED In Italy concept.