A team of creative students from the University of Texas at Austin, partnering with Germany’s Technische Universitat Munchen entered a renewal energy competition run by the US Department of Energy called Solar Decathlon. They came up with a house that runs on energy from the sun and rainwater.
The young team’s goal was to design a home that is both modular and off-grid. They called the project NexusHaus, nexus meaning ‘link’ and haus is ‘house’ in German. The design makes extensive use of natural light but also optimises energy production from solar Pv modules, through intelligent orientation and space use. The energy that is produced from the solar panels is stored in a battery bank for use at night. In this way, the house is powered 24/7.
The building is modular and can be easily assembled on a level section of land. The slick panel design allows for quick disassembly and relocation if needed. The house also has a large rainwater catchment and storage system with filtration for drinking water plus greywater recycling system for house cleaning, flushing and irrigation.
Minimum living space and consumption is fashionable. This type of living is evolving in the face of rising house construction and running costs plus extreme weather events like prolonged drought. The design includes a septic tank plus vegetable garden. All waste can be recycled.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal