Team Belgium aimed for simplicity with E-Cube, its entry for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. This approach resulted in a design that is stripped of its nonessential components and finishes, leaving its structure and façade exposed to the interior. The ultra-efficient house is conceived as an affordable building kit that can be assembled in days rather than months.

Design Philosophy
The team was primarily interested in creating a comfortable, solar-powered house with a lot of space on a small budget. A conscious effort was made to avoid letting gadgetry dominate the overall experience of the house, so technical installations were grouped in a small compartment, and the photovoltaic system was placed on the flat roof out of sight.

The four principles that define E-Cube are modularity, affordability, flexibility, and efficiency. Features include:
A compact shape that minimizes thermal energy loss through the building envelope

A façade made of fiber-cement boards with the same dimensions as the triple-glazed window elements
A spacious and luminous raw interior that it is missing most of the conventional finishes.

The technologies used in E-Cube include:
A standard pallet rack system that creates the main structure using a bolt-less assembly process
A plug-and-play electrical wiring system that is integrated into the structure for easy installation
A spacious floor plan that can be expanded by adding more floor panels on the existing beams.

Market Strategy
E-Cube offers ample interior space and an environmental design adapted to Belgian conditions. The market appeal of the house lies mainly in the simplicity of construction methods and the potential for affordability. The house is essentially a building kit for a relatively inexperienced builder. As such, E-Cube may appeal to the would-be self-builder who lacks the time and knowledge to build a house from scratch.

What's Next
Although future plans are not finalized, the house will return to Belgium after the competition. The aspiration is to reconstruct it on campus, where it can be given a useful purpose such as a research space or a house for visiting faculty.


8 photos

Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated 56 media, updated, updated a digital reference, added a digital reference and uploaded 8 media
    E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube E-Cube
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com