Romania's Prispa solar prefab feels like a real home
September 19, 2012
The Romanian Solar Decathlon team has presented its innovative solar-powered prefab home ... and it looks good enough to move into. Dubbed Prispa, it blends comfortable living zones with an abundance of natural light. The prototype uses wood as its primary material, while clay has been used to finish the interior walls, and the photovoltaic system has been mounted onto the roof’s metallic boarding.
The structure’s asymmetrical lines provides for a north-facing facade that is slightly angled and thus protects the building from harsh Romanian winter conditions, including strong northern winds and heavy snow falls. The southern side features large open windows and sliding doors that open out onto the shaded balcony terrace with overhead veranda. On the eastern and western facades, triple-glazed windows allow natural light to enter the home while also keeping out the heat and thus avoiding a greenhouse effect.
The home’s high ceilings offer impressive interior dimensions and facilitate the use of an elevated zone positioned above the kitchen. This extra zone provides the small home with added space, suitable to be used as a guest bedroom, playroom or home office. The rest of the home is made up of open living, dining, kitchen and study areas, with a private master bedroom and bathroom.
The interior heating system utilizes infrared panels that are placed in the living room, bedroom and bathroom, while the heated air is recycled to minimize the amount of energy consumed. To protect the home from warming up during the summer months, large shutters have been fitted on the outside of the windows. Furthermore, a layer of dark colored stone has been laid at the base of the home’s exterior, which attracts and stores heat from the sun during the day and releases it during the night.
The Prispa solar home is a great example of what can be done within a relatively small structure, however it does come with a not-so-small price tag. The prototype cost €120,000 (US$150,360) to build, but as the demand grows it is anticipated that the price could drop down to €90,000 ($113,000) in the first year, with the goal of further dropping down to €70,000 ($88,000).
That being said, it can be fully assembled in just 30 days, and comes with a ten-year warranty. The house can also be divided into pre-fabricated modules, in order to be easily transported by truck.