MADRID Solar Decathlon 2010 & The Silos

I had an opportunity to familiarize myself with the Solar Decathlon ( academic competition on energy efficient experimental housing. The Finnish Aalto University participated in the competition with its experimental house called Luukku. The Aalto University placed fifth ( , an excellent outcome for a first-time participant.

Congratulations 🙂 !

In Mardrid I saw something else quite new and exceptional. A man-made sun shelter imitating natural conditions (photo below). In a new housing development where trees had been planted but were still very small, large (about 18 metres high, radius about 3-4 metres) steel structured “silos” had been placed in parks.

They stood on steel legs and their upper part was covered with a stainless steel net. Along the inside of the silo, starting from about three metres and up, shading twining plants had been planted along the insides of the silo walls. The silos were so large that birds had built their nests in them and the area was filled with delightful birdsong. On street level were play grounds and seats for people to sit around and enjoy the shade. Even under very hot weather conditions the air is about five degrees cooler on the ground level of the silos than in their surroundings. As the air warms up it raises up the silo mainly by gravity. Inside the silo was installed a vertical pipeline with little fans that enhanced the upward flow. The solar panels on top of the silos provided the required electricity. Photo below.

The steel silos will be disassembled when the trees in the area have grown to provide their natural shelter from the sun. The silos can then be moved to another location.



A 16-18 metre high silo of 6-8 metre diametre provides shelter from the sun.


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