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VIRTUe participates in the Solar Decathlon Europe with ‘ripple’, the sustainable house of the future powered by our colored solar belt

VIRTUe is a multidisciplinary, international team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe) and will participate in the Solar Decathlon Europe 21 (SDE 21), which will take place next June in Wuppertal, Germany. The Solar Decathlon is an international competition that challenges university teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative houses powered by renewable energy.

The VIRTUe team built ripple in five weeks to present the stand-alone prototype for the grand opening on 8 October 2021 in the TUe campus, which was a great success. You still have the chance to visit the house during the GLOW Eindhoven festival from 6 to 13 November, don’t miss it!

VIRTUe wants to inspire sustainable behavior by bringing people together and creating a ripple of change, and they translated this vision into the house they designed and built. Their mission is to tackle the energy transition in cities worldwide by blending architectural design and engineering knowledge with innovation, market potential, and building efficiency. Furthermore, by promoting a communal and sustainable mindset in the building industry, residents are stimulated to support the transition together by having a sustainable lifestyle.

The ripple Design Unit (RDU) is just one example of the philosophy behind ripple, which is meant to transform urban environments by adding on to existing buildings with new, vertical streets, for example.

Today, it is clear that we cannot successfully achieve the energy transition if we don’t tackle it from an urban perspective. The built environment is responsible for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption, and 75% of the building stock in the EU is energetically inefficient (SDE). Cities are the hotspots of these issues, and it is by revitalizing the urban building landscape that cities can be transformed and become resilient.

The solution lies in the innovative technologies that allow this model house to be efficiently powered by solar energy, and enable people to adopt a circular way of living in cities. As Marianna Angelini, VIRTUe’s PR Manager, said, “Sustainability is one of our key values; we want to improve energy efficiency by using interactive and user-friendly appliances. A sustainable life doesn’t have to be complicated, uncomfortable, or expensive. Our goal is to transform the urban environment using sustainably sourced prefabricated elements to build a self-sufficient house.”

ripple is made of re-purposed materials, features a smart interior with a central technical core, and favors biodiversity with a green roof and birds nests. The house is powered by a PVT (photovoltaic thermal) system, installed behind our beautiful ColorBlast® solar panels which make up the solar façade and belt. The colored solar panels show a custom-made tessellated design that mimics the pattern used in the design of the building. An elegant and sustainable building integrated solution that not only looks attractive but also provides more space on the roof for, amongst others, social activities and gardening. 

Together with Team VIRTUe, we decided to use their tesselation pattern for the ColorBlast solar panels, also used in many elements of their building design, instead of using our classic hexagonal shape. Little details like these exemplify the care that went into ripple’s design.

ripple brings about both social and technical innovations that make it easier for communities to take a step toward sustainability, envisioning a new and playful living concept. In Marianna’s words, “This is how we bring back the feeling of solidarity and encourage people to work together for a better world.”

It’s a beautiful, sustainable revolution for designers, architects, builders, and residents.

Want to know more in detail about this project? Visit our portfolio page!

© 2021 Kameleon Solar