Innovation Earth: House made of textiles will use the energy of a hairdryer

Ask me to show you a sustainable house made of fabric, and I”ll show you a tent — or a yurt. Here where I live in Southern California, “green” homes come in three flavors: concrete, reclaimed wood and corrugated steel. (Or a combination of all three, with a generous amount of glass to maximize natural light and bring the outdoors in.)

But a team of students from the Rhode Island School of Design, Brown Universityand the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt in Germany wants to challenge theubiquitous blocky prefab modern look, with its architecturally unique entry for the upcoming biennial Solar Decathlon Europe competition.

The design phase is now complete, and the team will soon begin constructing an 800-square-foot solar-powered home with an enclosure made entirely of textiles.

Aptly dubbed TechStyle Haus, the amorphously elegant structure will also perform to the Passive House standard, using 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a casino online traditional home — no more than the amount used to run a hair dryer

The international Solar Decathlon competition, which, like the stateside version, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, challenges students to build energy-efficient and innovative solar-powered homes. Not all teams attempt the Passive House designation, however. One made of fabric? That will be a Solar Decathlon first.

“Many teams have made passive houses in the past … [but] they”re usually dense blocks with super thick walls and small windows,” says Brown student Gareth Rose, one of 50 core team members who will be taking TechStyle Haus from design to reality over the next several months. “We”re aiming for a more natural aesthetic that still meets this demanding energy standard.”

By Jennifer Grayson

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