This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 15, 2011

Belgium's Ghent University Prepares their E-Cube for U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011

Ghent University's unique two-story home could be an international star at the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011 competition due to the Belgian team's innovative, ultra-efficient, "passive home" design of the E-Cube. E-Cube, named for its cube-like shape, features a very clean and compact boxy exterior, complemented by a very spacious interior for a family of four (including two children) with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a living area. Ghent University founded the home on several basic principles focusing on modularity and passive house standards, structural flexibility and affordability, which are evident in every part of the home.

An important aspect of the E-Cube is the simple do-it-yourself modularity. The home is designed as a pre-engineered kit that can be easily constructed by communities without specialty workers or help from outside financial institutions. The internal structure is a very basic industrial pallet racking system that keeps access and affordability in mind along with standard building codes. The E-Cube is very plug and play. Because the entire structure is built from a kit, hooking up the solar panels and other technical components requires no specific expertise. See the Energy Blog post.