VIRTUe Designs Sustainable House Model For Cities of Tomorrow
VIRTUe, a student team from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, has come up with a sustainable house model to transform urban living. Dubbed Ripple, the new self-sufficient house model aims at reducing the carbon footprint while encouraging homeowners to adapt to eco-friendly living in the future.
The main component of this sustainable house is wood. This house comes integrated with solar panels that generate hot water and electricity. You can further combine this housing unit with other units to form a whole new block. The lightweight structure of this building makes it easy to install on the existing building’s top.
VIRTUe’s concept is to address the existing housing issues in European cities by offering residents a flexible solution that’s suitable for young professionals. Ripple will also take part in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021 (SDE21), which is the university-level competition for energy-efficient and resource-responsible engineering and architecture.
After two years of their work, the student team is going to face its competitors in June 2022 in Wuppertal city of Germany. According to VIRTUe’s communication manager, this prototype house envisions the houses in the cities of the future. Just like the ripple effect works, this prototype project aims to influence people to rethink urban house design.
As per the student team, the ripple housing units are likely to create new standards of living while renewing people’s connection with the city. For instance, these mobility hubs outside your living units are likely to accommodate various other mobility options, including shared bikes, cars, and scooters. This is how the urban area is likely to become more accessible for everyone.
Smart energy management in the sustainable house
The house module consists of repurposed wood. Each facade, except for the one in the north direction, includes solar panels, a biodiversity garden, and a birds’ hotel, as well as a ground floor area for growing vegetables.
The interior of this sustainable housing consists of two apartment spaces for sharing facilities. On entering the house, you’ll see a communal area with a kitchen and living room. There is also a round display on the wall. It’s the interface of this house’s smart system that shows the amount of energy collected by the solar panels. The software also blends the weather forecast information. It further indicates the amount of energy that’s estimated for storage.
This whole system can help you while doing the daily chores by following the peak times during the sunny hours. The device can further schedule the use of the dishwasher when there is plenty of sunlight. For example, when you leave your house in the morning, you can set the device to start the dishwasher when it’s mostly sunny. So, the dishes will be completely done by the time you get back home.
In the middle of the house, you can find the heat pump, the boiler, and the ventilation system. With all technical systems in one area, it’s easier to manage all the operations, repairs, and maintenance for doing things easily and quickly.
Flexible environment in the sustainable house
The housing units feature adaptable options. Depending on the location of the house, it’s easier to relocate the solar panels to various facades. You can also change the position of various modules in the house.
In case you want your house to serve a distinct need, it’s easier to shift things. It’s possible by lifting the kitchen and toilet modules. And, further put them back together. Even walls are movable around the different sections, as per your needs.
The ripple units can further get rotated and placed in different ways. At the same time, these blocks help in preserving the house’s modularity.
Future of sustainable living
This project involved around 90 students that come from various faculties. Hence, a wide range of expertise gets involved in the project. In the coming weeks, the team is planning open days for the visitors. Meanwhile, they have plenty of time to organize for SDE21. So far, many investors have become interested in the ripple project to pursue sustainable living. We hope that it will offer us all a great sustainable way to make a great future.