Architecture competition, organised around solar energy

The purpose of the Solar Decathlon Europe is to design and construct an small scale solar house with high energy performance.  21 competitors are taking part in the competition, including two French teams. The projects will be evaluated based on ten criteria varying from architecture to durability, and including comfort, innovation and market viability.  The ENSAG, selected by the Solar Decathlon Europe Selection Committee, is working with INES (Institut National de l'Energie Solaire – French National Solar Energy Institute) and the GAIA (Grands Ateliers de l'Isle d'Abeau - French Centre for Teaching, Research and Experimentation in Construction).  The year 2009 is dedicated to research work, design and input by experts.  Construction will begin in 2010.

CSTB's scientific input

ENSAG students called upon technical expertise of the CSTB in Grenoble.  The prototype house imagined by the ENSAG-INES-GAIA group (named “Armadillo Box” with reference to the protective carapace of the tattoo) is based on a twofold constraint, namely the need to be energy-independent but also to use low cost materials. "The Solar Decathlon is targeted on energy. Nevertheless, we reminded students that energy is not the only target for building softly integrated in the local ecosystem. Building as a cosy living space must also satisfy lighting, acoustic and air quality requirements” says Daniel Quénard, CSTB engineer.  Therefore, we also discussed questions of insulation, air tightness, glazing (for solar inputs), inertia and solar protection."   Daniel Quénard suggested that students should use a" core-skin-shell construction principle in which different layers of the home are separated, in order to tackle the “surface paradox”: compactness to reduce heat losses and large surfaces to collect resources (solar energy, water, air, etc.), while managing their intermittent nature by an "energy treasury" (thermal inertia, storage, etc.).  Since the Solar Decathlon Europe specification plans to extend the energy theme to include the environment, CSTB will also propose an environmental project analysis using ELODIE, software for evaluation of the environmental impact of construction products.

Armadillo Box project, Marc Auzet, Juliette Goudy, Quentin Chansavang, Emilie Braudo, Guillaume Pradelle

"Core-skin-shell": a PhD thesis starting next year

"Global optimisation of the architectural and technical design of energy saving constructions":  this is the title of a CSTB PhD thesis that will deal with optimisation of energy performances in tall residential buildings and a study of the architectural, energy and technical potentials of the "core-skin-shell" concept.  The thesis will be based on the study of two projects (new construction and rehabilitation).  A first phase of the work will consider the current situation of the concept.  It will be followed by an exploration and its potential regarding air quality, lighting, and hygrothermal and acoustic comfort.