Egypt’s First Entry in Solar Decathlon Based on Matchbox | Home Design Find

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Egypt’s First Entry in Solar Decathlon Based on Matchbox

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The first ever submission from Egypt in next year’s solar decathlon is remarkable in its ingenuity.

Temperatures in Egypt’s deserts can range from 114 F in summer to 32 F in winter. This is a passive solar house that can be adjusted to work as a passive solar house in both the heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter.

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The house is based on the slide out design of the humble matchbox. The double-layered screen also uses an ancient desert cooling technique, the Mashrabiya screen, a core element of traditional Arab-Islamic architecture – allowing for privacy and controling how much light and heat enters the building.

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But in this case, making this mobile is key. The slide-out perforated facades are part of a passive solar scheme that make it possible to regulate temperatures inside by sliding the exterior faces across each other in various combinations.

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In winter, it is a passive solar house warmed by the sun. The perforated screen of the exterior of the building is slid to each side to maximize solar gain through the huge south-facing glass greenhouse curtain wall. The sun’s heat is stored in thermal mass flooring of concrete.

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To cool the same space in summer, the south side is closed off to reflect heat back out. The double facades are positioned so as to prevent heat or light getting in from the south, while allowing in light from the north.

The same thermal storage in the concrete floor now acts to retain coolness through the hot day. A ceiling vent helps hot air escape.

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