This week, on the Eindhoven University of Technology campus, the VIRTUe student team presented its sustainable home. This is part of a sustainable flats concept with which the team will be participating in the Solar Decathlon in Dubai in November. During the Dutch Technology Week, visitors may come and admire the ‘penthouse’ flat for real.
LINQ is a small block of flats designed specifically for use in the sweltering heat of Dubai. The ‘penthouse’ home of the block of flats – which is currently open for viewing in Eindhoven – has a sloping roof covered in solar panels, which will supply a lot of energy in Dubai. Solar collectors provide hot water.
Electrical power is direct current – the solar panels generate DC – as conversion to alternating current would only result in energy losses. A special air con system powered by water vapour provides cooling.
The most striking thing about the LINQ block of flats is its large communal areas, including a luxury kitchen. ‘People can also cook in their own apartment, but the communal kitchen and lounge area are much more luxurious. This is our way of gently encouraging residents to establish contact with each other,’ says Team VIRTUe spokesperson Tamar Henquet.
A more conscious lifestyle
In the centre of the demo apartment is a module containing all the technical systems. Using an app, residents can monitor the performance of these systems at all times. This is expected to encourage people to adopt a more conscious lifestyle.
The students also thought carefully about re-using construction materials. The kitchen counter for instance is made of plastic from recycled PET bottles mixed with sand. And the façade is made of biocomposite.
The dwelling has now been fully erected for the first time on the Eindhoven University of Technology campus. But in September, all components will be shipped to Dubai, in preparation for the Solar Decathlon, a major international construction competition for universities held once every two years, which starts on 14th November. Teams from Delft University of Technology and the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht have participated in previous editions.
There, the buildings of these teams will be judged on ten different aspects, such as Architecture, Engineering, Water and Market Potential. There are awards for all these categories, but there will also be an overall winner. ‘I think we're really in with a chance,’ says Henquet. ‘Because many teams focus on specific categories, whereas we are aiming to score high on all aspects.’
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Opening image: impression of the ‘penthouse’ of the LINQ block of flats, on the Eindhoven University of Technology campus. Illustrations: Team VIRTUe
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