Architecture

ZEB Pilot House generates much more electricity than it needs

ZEB Pilot House generates much...
The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month (Image: EVE)
The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month (Image: EVE)
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In order to ensure all available rays are caught, the PV-packing roof slopes 19 degrees toward the southeast (Image: EVE)
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In order to ensure all available rays are caught, the PV-packing roof slopes 19 degrees toward the southeast (Image: EVE)
Inside, carefully-situated glass encourages solar heat gain, while a heat exchanger expels excess indoor heat and redirects it to warm tap water (Image: EVE)
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Inside, carefully-situated glass encourages solar heat gain, while a heat exchanger expels excess indoor heat and redirects it to warm tap water (Image: EVE)
A roof-bound solar thermal array warms an underfloor heating system (Image: EVE)
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A roof-bound solar thermal array warms an underfloor heating system (Image: EVE)
The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month (Image: EVE)
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The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month (Image: EVE)
Carefully-placed glass encourages solar heat gain (Image: Snøhetta)
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Carefully-placed glass encourages solar heat gain (Image: Snøhetta)
The ZEB Pilot House also boasts a swimming pool and firewood-heated sauna (Image: Snøhetta)
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The ZEB Pilot House also boasts a swimming pool and firewood-heated sauna (Image: Snøhetta)
Outside, an atrium with fireplace and furnishing has been constructed for outdoor dining (Image: Snøhetta)
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Outside, an atrium with fireplace and furnishing has been constructed for outdoor dining (Image: Snøhetta)
The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month and will continue to be monitored to ensure that its performance meets all estimates (Image: Snøhetta)
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The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month and will continue to be monitored to ensure that its performance meets all estimates (Image: Snøhetta)
View gallery - 8 images

International architecture firm Snøhetta has partnered with Norway's Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) and to design and build a remarkable experimental house that helps move the development of very efficient buildings forward. The ZEB Pilot House is claimed to generate almost three times the amount of electricity it requires, with the significant surplus available to help run an electric car, for example.

A lot of sustainable technology was used on the build. The roof sports a 150 sq m (1,614 sq ft) photovoltaic array, and a 16 sq m (172 sq ft) solar thermal panel array, in addition to a rainwater collection system that provides water for toilet and garden use. In order to ensure all available rays are caught, the roof also slopes 19 degrees toward the southeast.

A Snøhetta representative told Gizmag that the photovoltaic array is expected to produce 19,200 kWh annually, while the home's total electricity needs are calculated at just 7,272 kWh per year.

A roof-bound solar thermal array warms an underfloor heating system (Image: EVE)
A roof-bound solar thermal array warms an underfloor heating system (Image: EVE)

Inside, carefully-placed glass encourages solar heat gain, while a heat exchanger expels excess heat and redirects it to warm tap water. An efficient underfloor heating system is also installed.

Surprisingly perhaps, at least given its focus on minimal energy use, the ZEB Pilot House also boasts a swimming pool and shower, which are warmed using surplus heat.

Moving outside, an atrium with fireplace and furnishing has been constructed for outdoor dining, and a small breakfast spot is built from recycled timber blocks. There's also a firewood-heated sauna and fruit trees and vegetable gardens to enable small-scale food production.

The ZEB Pilot House was completed earlier this month and its performance will be monitored longterm to ensure that it meets all estimates. Research organization SINTEF and building supply firms Brødrene Dahl and Optimera were also involved in the project.

Sources: Snøhetta, ZEB

View gallery - 8 images
15 comments
Kevin Burke
is it affordable?.
Harvey
The photovoltaic setup alone would cost about $100,000 in the U.S.
BeWalt
@ Harvey: Not so. First, there are full service providers like Solar City, look 'em up and you will be surprised about what you find.
Secondly, let's say you really go and buy these panels (see pricing on ebay). What you will find is that a 240 W panel covering 1.6 sq meters is around 200 bucks, making this 150 sq meter installation a thing of $ 20k.
Yes, there is installation to count on top, and system parts. That ups cost usually by two-and-a-half, still well away from your 100 grand. All the while no more monthly bills for heat, power, and even fuel for your car if you have an electric one. Oil is dead, it just doesn't know it yet.
One watt whole sale is now below $0.50 and I well remember people said (20 years back) that getting to a buck per watt would start the solar revolution. We're at 50 cents and voila, hundreds of thousands of people are already working in solar energy. Soon to surpass half a million in the U.S. alone.
Slowburn
@ BeWalt Cost not subsidized price.
BeWalt
@ Slowburn: Funny you'd mention that. Take away all the subsidies and solar wins hands down, tomorrow.
There's lots of great info about energy subsidies and especially in the U.S. and lo and behold renewable subsidies are *dwarfed* by the ones the non-renewable oldies get.
Peter Mason
@Slowburn
"In its 2013 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency found fossil fuels received subsidies totalling $US544 billion in 2012, five times more than the financial support for renewable energy which was calculated to be $US101 billion."
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-24/green-bonds-on-the-rise-as-a-low-carbon-economy-becomes-profita/5765078
ivan4
@Peter Mason, since when has a legitimate lower tax rate been a subsidy? There is not one instance of fossil fuels getting direct payments from governments whereas the renewable industry would fold if their direct payments from taxes were stopped.
BeWalt
@ ivan4: Thank you for that brilliant observation. Yes!! There shall be no more "subsidies", instead only "legitimate lower tax rates" may be allowable, from now on.
That will fix all problems, and all of us will finally agree, and fiscal budgets will experience no more losses. A tip of the hat to this nugget of conservative thinking.
TeeWee
Notice how when describing all the alleged benefits of these 'sustainable' (no such thing) projects they use words such as, should, could, may, might, so she there systems do not live up to the promise they have wiggle room.
Don Duncan
This house has not been proven yet. All we have is a claim (guesstament). First the trials, then end users will determine the final performance.
As for the viability of "sustainable" energy, as in all technology, the proof will come with use. The proof is presently obscured by the existence of a controlled market, a taxed/regulated market. This unfree market distorts. A free market would give us the essential information we need to progress. Unfortunately, free markets are feared and vilified, hence, govt. When this irrational fear is replaced by unforced economic interaction, humanity will be free from a very destructive superstition.