AIR House by Czech Student Team in Solar Decathlon 2013

Customer Project

Structural Engineering Architecture, Structural Analysis, Planning & Construction
Student team of Czech Technical University (CTU)
Prague, Czech Republic

A student team from the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague took the third place overall in the Solar Decathlon 2013, an engineering competition which is organized biennially by the U.S. Department of Energy. The competition challenged 20 collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate an energy-efficient solar-powered house.

The CTU team was the first Czech participant in this prestigious contest. For the design of the competition house, the students chose RFEM.

Solar Decathlon Competition

The objective of the Solar Decathlon is to promote innovative architecture which is sustainable, energy-efficient and with low operating costs. Each house originated on the premises of the respective university and was then transported to the USA for the final exhibition. The Decathlon took place for the sixth time in 2013. The scene of the competition was the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

The students from each competition team managed their project independently. They provided the financing, designed the buildings, built the houses and organized the transportation to the USA. Therefore, the Czech team consisted of students from different faculties such as architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, etc.

The AIR House

The concept of the Czech team's competition house, called the AIR House, combines minimal interior dwelling space with generous exterior space. The aim was to maximize the functional units outside the air-conditioned space and thus to minimize energy that is necessary to maintain the interior comfort. The students built an energy-efficient, mostly recyclable and healthy house which positively affects the quality of life of its inhabitants.

The main supporting structure is formed by cross laminated timber panels combined with massive timber panels, which are made with chemical-free, untreated timber from forests with PEFC certification. The panels do not emit any harmful substances and create a pleasant microclimate.

Panels with visual quality are applied in the interior. In this way, subsequent recycling is facilitated. In addition, the presence of wooden surface appeals positively to the human psyche and creates a comfortable and warm atmosphere.

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Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements

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