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LOW3, a bioclimatic solar house
31 March 2010
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
LOW3 is prototype of sustainable housing that reduces energy consumption and is made of renewable materials. It is being designed and built by students of the Universitat Politècnica of Catalunya (UPC)-Barcelona Tech School of Architecture of the Vallès (ETSAV).
A group of 40 students from the School of Architecture of the Vallès (ETSAV), coordinated by the faculty, has embarked upon an adventure. It has undertaken the challenge of designing and building a prototype for a bioclimatic solar house, the LOW3 (low energy+low impact+low cost), a new concept in bioclimatic housing that is energy self-sufficient.
The reduction of three factors-energy consumption, environmental impact during its lifecycle and the cost of the constructive and technological solutions applied-is the principle adopted in all stages of the building's development. The house, conceived on the premises of environmental and economic sustainability, integrates photovoltaic technology as well as solar thermal systems and is made of sustainable, renewable materials using simple, efficient systems, all of them low-cost. This, together with the high energy efficiency the home will have, will allow the objective of completing the material and water cycles to be met, insofar as possible. The construction, based on prefabricated, flexible modular systems, will facilitate the transformation, expansion and reorganization of the housing space to adapt it to the changing needs of its occupants.
A project like this one "combines teaching with applied research in a manner unique in the field of sustainable architecture," explains Torsten Masseck, technical director of the LOW3 prototype.
Companies for the future
The LOW3 project is carried out with the collaboration of the UPC Department of Heat Engines and the UPC-Barcelona Tech Center for Sustainability, as well as the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN) and the companies Finnforest, Biohaus, Aislux, Schneider Electric, Ininsa, Schott Solar, TFM, Rehau, JG Ingeniería, Bioclim, ABC Modular, Iguzzini, Solarlux, Klein Ibérica, Print It, Zicla and Espacio Solar.
The ETSAV team, called SDE UPC 2010, will compete with another 20 university projects from around the world in the 2010 international Solar Decathlon Europe contest, which will take place in June in Madrid.