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The Counter Entropy Team celebrates a topping-out ceremony. Students of the RWTH Aachen will participate in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 international university competition in Madrid presenting their building.
© Thomas Stachelhaus
Solar Decathlon Europe 2012
18.06.2012

The proud team in front of the building shell in an old assembly hall in the Jülich research centre
© Thomas Stachelhaus

This is what the Counter Entropy House is supposed to look like one day
© Counter Entropy Team, RWTH Aachen

Topping-out ceremony for a house within a house

Last Friday, students of the RWTH Aachen invited guests to their topping-out ceremony. The multidisciplinary team presented its building “Counter Entropy House” to the general public for the first time for real. In September, the students will compete with their house in the international Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 university competition in Madrid. The house, which has been consequently created in such a way that the use of resources is systematically reduced, is currently being constructed for testing purposes in an old assembly hall in the Jülich research centre.

It is a house within a house: in an old assembly hall in the Jülich research centre, students are working hard to complete the future-oriented “Counter Entropy House”. The house is now standing in the hall, but is a long way from being finished. The large flat roof is still missing, as are the entire interior fittings, but this work will be completed over the coming weeks. Shortly afterwards, it will be dismantled again and transported to the competition site in Madrid. During the short period of time left after completion of the building in Jülich, it will be tested for correct functioning together with all its complex technology. After all, everything has to be in perfect working order in Madrid. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is funding these activities as part of its Energy Optimised Building (EnOB) research initiative.

The topping-out ceremony was opened at 10.00 a.m. with a speech by Peter Russell, Professor for Computer Aided Architectural Design. Mr Russell is heading the student project at the RWTH Aachen. Martin Trautz, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, congratulated the Counter Entropy Team on the completion of the shell. This was a very important stage on the road to the competition finals in Madrid, he said. There were also speeches made by Dirk Müller, Director of the Institute for Energy Efficient Buildings and Indoor Climate at the E.ON Energy Research Center, Dirk Henning Braun, Professor for Building Technology and René Lierschaft, representing the Aachen Counter Entropy Team.

Radiation cooling and CD facade

The team was given advice and practical assistance by the carpentry workshop Knoben in Heinsberg. Large parts of the shell designed by the students were prefabricated at the Knoben location using wood. The students were also able to show other pieces of their building puzzle. Guests were offered detailed information about the photovoltaic modules with integrated sprinkler devices for radiation cooling at night. These devices will be positioned on the large flat roof of the building. The facade modules made of old CD discs developed specially for the house by the Counter Entropy Team were also on display. Visitors showed a great deal of interest in the gesture control, which is an integral part of the building automation system and which enables, amongst other things, the control of light sources. Examples of the furniture designed specially for the house could also be shown for the Counter Entropy House.

The principle of natural resources conservation

The small, single-storey building from Aachen is designed for two people. It has a modular structure, which makes it possible to implement three vertical private space zones, while at the same time, the roof and the external thermal and visual protection can be flexibly designed.

The planning team took care to systematically recycle construction materials. During construction, and also during dismantling of the building, the aim is to work sensitively with energy and environmental resources. On the one hand, this means avoiding waste: as far as possible, no materials are used in the construction of the house which cannot be sorted according to type and recycled. Furthermore, components are used which consist of products which have already been used. These are either recycled or directly re-used, such as the old CD discs which have been melted down to create the building facade. In this way, they are given a second useful life before being added to the recycling process. And in general, the aim is to conserve resources by only using raw materials where it is really necessary. For details of the building concept, go to the website of the Counter Entropy Team.

(jl)

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Links

Research initiative EnOB
www.enob.info/en

Counter Entropy Team of the RWTH Aachen
http://solar.arch.rwth-aachen.de/architecture.html