Architecture / Design / Environment

Odoo-House – Solar Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Rule

A group of 60 students and project coaches have just returned from Madrid, Spain, where they successfully presented their Odoo-project at the Solar Dechatlon Competition. The goal of the Solar Dechatlon Competition was that every qualified team designed and built a house that is completely run on solar energy, is energy efficient and environment-friendly in every possible aspect. Although architecture, design, visual appeal and comfort also played a very important role. The enthusiastic team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics has been awarded with the fantastic 6th place for their innovative and well-thought-through Odoo-house. Odoo (only when pronounced) means birdhouse in Hungarian (odu). This is only my interpretation though, why Odoo was chosen as name of the project. Odoo – Birdhouse: how cute :)

Within the scope of the Solar Dechatlon Competition project – sponsored jointly by the American and Spanish governments – the Hungarian team created a small house with a large outdoor area that combines the preferred Hungarian traditional lifestyle with contemporary technologies available today. In the Odoo house inhabitants can spend just as much time outdoors given the functional units – kitchen and lounge area – as they can spend indoors. This way the indoors-area could be limited to the minimum thus saving building materials as well as energy. This great holistic concept also takes the healthy and sustainable lifestyle into account.

The house and the summer walls are covered with solar cells to gain and store energy. Aesthetic full glaze solar cells provide the house its modern appearance and avoid eventual energy slip through the walls. The core of the building service system is the air-to-water heat pump connected to a semi-passive cooling-heating system, ventilation system and photovoltaic system. An air conditioning unit provides the desired indoor air quality and temperature when doors are closed. Proper interior thermal comfort is ensured by the surface heating-cooling system through the floor and the ceiling that is highly energy efficient. To reduce water consumption rainwater is collected from the roof and is used for e.g. toilet flushing and watering. Built-in automation system devices control the service units, such as shading, interior settings of the house, multimedia, etc.  based on weather conditions and preferences by inhabitants. These integrated system devices create a decentralized intelligence. The multi-platform system can be controlled via many devices such as smart phone, tablet, touch screen, any interface using the internet, even away from home. For highest productivity on site during the construction phase, the house itself was prefabricated and transported in four major pieces from Hungary to Madrid.

The team consisting of about 60 students and coaches from 7 out of 8 faculties of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics worked approx. 2 years on the concept and its realization. Their efforts were absolutely worth it as they finished the competition at the fantastic 6th place out of 18 participating teams. They have also received several honorable mentions and special awards.

Looking at their blog and Facebook page, you really can tell the team had fun during the project even though they worked extremely hard. It’s really a priceless and unforgettable experience for everyone of them. Not even mentioning the connections they were able to establish with project sponsors such as e.g. Siemens, Samsung, Schneider Electric, etc. as well as with high ranking guests, such as the Hungarian Ambassador to Spain, Gyorgy Habsburg and several key persons from the industry.

For more information please visit or the Facebook page.

Source of images: courtesy of Odooproject. Photos by Balazs Danyi.

UPDATE (November 19, 2012): I visited the Odoo House in Budapest in November 2012  and you can find my personal report about ‘Odoo Part II. – Now in Budapest’ here.


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