Heliotrop is a project that demonstrates how it is possible to combine architecture with environmental sustainability and energy savings.
It is a residential and office building designed and built in 1992 by the Solar Architektur studio of German architect Rolf Disch.
Heliotrop is the first buildingة in the worldة capable of producing more energy than it consumes.
It behaves like a sunflower, in that it rotates, so that it always provides the best exposure for the photovoltaic panels that cover it and harnesses solarة energy at all times of the day.
A building of this type costs about 2 million euros. So it is, certainly, not cheap. However, the considerable energy savings that can be achieved allow the initial expense to be amortized, within a few years.
WHAT DOES HELIOTROP LOOK LIKE?
Heliotrop (from the Greek word for “exposed to the sun”) is a cylindrical building that rotates around a 2 degree base every 10 minutes to chase the sun.
The supporting structure is composed of modular wooden elements, anchored to a central frame containing the plants’ conduits, and a spiral staircase that allows the connection between the different floors.
It is articulated on three floors that offer a total living area of 180 square meters. The roof is terraced.
The facade is totally transparent, which allows to enjoy the surrounding panorama while sufficiently insulating the interior from heat and cold.
HELIOTROP PRODUCES MORE ENERGY THAN IT CONSUMES
Despite the energy required for rotation, this building produces more energy than it consumes for its needs. To be precise, according to architect Disch, five times as much electricity is produced as it consumes. The redundant energy is in fact redistributed, into the public grid.
HOW DOES HELIOTROP WORK?
This surplus is possible because the building rotates in perfect synchronization with the sun, storing its energy to the maximum and warming itself up, during the winter, then protecting itself from direct sunlight, during the summer.
Energy is captured not only by photovoltaic panels, but also by triple glazed windows and a solar thermal system.
The heating system (also water) of this building, works thanks to a radiant ceiling made of copper slats that also allows, to cool the rooms in summer.
The project also includes a system for collecting rainwater from the roof, which is filtered and used for domestic purposes such as washing dishes and laundry.
Grey water, on the other hand, is purified using a plant of phyto – purification. It is separated from fecal waste, which is composted in a dry plant with organic waste.
HELIOTROP, THE HOUSE OF THE FUTURE
Heliotrop represents, therefore, the collection of various innovative technologies necessary for the construction of the building of the future, the building is independent of the supply network and energy services of the city.