Antoin Post, Team CASA

A comfortable, affordable and sustainable home that can be part of the social housing system in the Netherlands: that’s what Team Casa – one of TU Eindhoven’s famous student teams – is going to design and build. Next to a pilot house on the TU campus, the first real Team Casa home will be built as part of Brainport Smart District in Helmond-Brandevoort. The team has a big goal: “Our mission is to accelerate the transition from the world of integration and innovation in the construction environment. We will set a new, higher standard for all homes regarding sustainability, health and costs that can be achieved today.”

In other words: building houses that are not only energy neutral but also more healthy to live in. So how is that going to be realized? “The first thing you can do is performance monitoring”, project manager Antoine Post said at a presentation in Innovation Space. By looking at how a house is performing in, for example, electricity and heating, the system can tell if you are using more energy than you should be. Post: “And the next step would then be predictive maintenance: when we have all these data, we can start giving advice about the maintenance of all these aspects.” This is especially interesting in social housing because a large part of their costs go to maintenance and reducing this would be very rewarding, Post claims.

Team Casa of course also looks at the construction of the house. Again, several elements will be added that one would normally not find in social housing. Post: “Instead of a normal foundation, our houses will get integrated seasonal water storage. This means that hot water will be collected during summer and stored underground, to be used for heating the house in the winter. Secondly, we will be constructing a service core throughout the house, which makes it easier to access and maintain all the installations. Moreover, if you scale the concept and build more homes next to each other, they can all use the same service core, which makes it even cheaper to construct.”

Team Casa would like to build for eternity, but a period of 30 years would be closer to reality. “And that’s why we designed everything for disassembly as well. Altogether, our house will be a bit more expensive up front, but overall would be more profitable for social housing organisations and better to live in for the residents.”

Designing is one thing, but actually building it needs a lot of preparation. And space. “For our first houses, we are now having all these prefab elements built, but before we can actually start constructing the house in Helmond, we need storage space. So if anyone can help us find 400 square meters where we can store these elements between April and July, that would be great.”

Photo © IO

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.