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ripple – Team VIRTUe

Competition: Solar Decathlon 2021
Student team: Team VIRTUe
University Eindhoven University of Technology
Surface area PV: 10 m2
Active panels: 12 pieces
Surface area passive 60 m2
Passive panels: 50 pieces

Output: 1180 Wp
Solar Panel: ColorBlast®
Date of delivery: September 2021
Phase: Completed (Competition in June 2022)
PV Thermal & PV mounting AFS Solar
Mounting passive elements Clacon Engineering
Glass & passive elements Steinfort Glas


About the team
VIRTUe is a multidisciplinary student team from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, comprised of 63 students from 16 nationalities.
VIRTUe previously participated in the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 in Dubai, and now takes on the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021.

The Solar Decathlon is the largest building competition challenging university teams from all over the world to design, build and operate highly efficient, solar-powered, innovative homes. VIRTUe is participating in the first urban edition of the Solar Decathlon along with 17 other teams in Wuppertal, Germany. The competition, postponed from September 2021 to June 2022 due to the pandemic, is expected to have around 200.000 visitors.
With a broad international background, VIRTUe is an enthusiastic team that blends professionality with a playful, down-to-earth, and fun approach to the project.

The motivation
VIRTUe is fully student-based and highly independent from the faculty institutions. A strong intrinsic motivation makes all members competitive and purposeful.
The booming innovation hub they work in, Eindhoven, combined with the cultural variety of their background, inspires VIRTUe to strive for change. They introduce an innovation that involves people and their habits, as well as the built environment industry and its design process.
An essential element of VIRTUe’s approach is having a story as a central guideline. A story that is not simply about facts and figures, current issues, and solutions, but also about people and communities, with real problems and real emotions. They want everyone to get genuinely enthusiastic about the project at the Solar Decathlon, and truly understand it, no matter their field of expertise. A less technical, more empathetic approach helps VIRTUe achieve this.

The challenge
Climate change is a complex subject requiring attention and effort on all levels. The built environment is a key player in reaching global sustainability goals. Designers of buildings and cities, therefore, have the power to stimulate habits through careful design. Currently, we are stuck in a status quo where the industry does not stimulate a sustainable mindset to its users, who in turn do not provide an incentive for the industry to change the production process. VIRTUe wants to break this destructive loop and introduce an integrated approach to sustainable building and living.
VIRTUe believes in the potential of human actions, where the issue should be tackled from both ends: the industry and the individual. With their integrated solution, they aim to: Activate people to adopt an environmentally friendly mindset; normalize sustainable living and future-proof the design approach of the built environment.

The solution
Their concept is called ripple. Like a drop in the water, their project creates a ripple of influence by proposing a way of thinking rather than a fixed design. They aim to spread the sustainable change in existing situations with a renewed urban plan and a design proposal for vertical extensions, both of which are adaptable to various scenarios. They are currently using Wuppertal as an implementation situation.
VIRTUe strives to activate people towards an environmentally friendly mindset with an attractive design that is adaptable to different situations. They believe that together, we can make sustainable living fun and easy for everyone, everywhere.


Ripple Demonstration Unit
At the SDE21/22, ripple is translated into a life-size Ripple Demonstration Unit (RDU), which is designed in layers to maximize circularity and adaptivity. A fixed, load-bearing core containing all the installations is controlled by the residents through a smart system with gamified recommendations stimulating the sustainable mindset of the user. Moreover, shared communal spaces and a green roof encourage eco-friendly activities to share ideas and resources. The attractive façade hosts a customized solar belt and a bird hotel for biodiversity.
VIRTUe’s urban concept is represented on the platform of the RDU through collective solutions, such as urban farming and shared mobility.

PV Details

Cell matrix 1

Dimensions: Various
Weight: ~22 kg per m2
Wp: 84 Wp
Technology: ColorBlast®
Cells: 21 pieces (3 x 7) monocrystalline 6 inch cells

Cell matrix 2

Dimensions: Various
Weight: ~22 kg per m2
Wp: 96 Wp
Technology: ColorBlast®
Cells: 24 pieces (3×8) monocrystalline 6 inch cells

Cell matrix 3

Dimensions: Various
Weight: ~22 kg per m2
Wp: 108
Technology: ColorBlast®
Cells: 27 pieces (3×9) monocrystalline 6 inch cells


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