Solar Takes a Turn for Sexy

by Maggie Flickinger

Solar has embarked on a European vacation, tossing caution to the wind and flaunting its sexy curves in Madrid. Thousands have flocked to ogle the Solar Homes on display at the Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid.  Colorado has a history with these competitions, having won both the 2002 and 2005 US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlons.  However in 2007 and again in 2009, Germany swept the stage with their restrained yet sophisticated architectural language and perfect energy score.  At SD Europe, will one of their three entries score again amidst steep competition from Europe, the US, and Asia?

My favorite? The Living Equia, a sustainable minimalist’s dream home (but hey, I’ve always had some quasi-Brutalist proclivities).  Beyond the standard systems, the team has also developed an intriguing material technology involving roof-installed wax globules which melt and solidify diurnally to cool the home.

Solar Takes a Turn for Sexy


I also enjoy the whimsical FabLabHouse, evocative of a lumbering beast with a solar hide.

Solar Takes a Turn for Sexy

But don’t let me sway you, vote for your own favorite on the SD Europe site! (polls close June 27)

From the early days of “solar hippies” (we played on that team!), we’ve come a long way, folks.  Kinetic solar facades, physics defying bamboo structure, vertical & flexible PV skins, and even cylindrical-parabolic solar concentrators are integrated into thoughtfully designed structures. Regardless of which team prevails, it is simply incredible to see solar design taken to these creative, aesthetic, and technical heights…and I for one think that’s downright sexy.

images courtesy SD Europe & Inhabitat (which has in-depth competition coverage)

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