This complex, comprising 24 houses, has been developed in accordance with bioclimatic architecture criteria, in synchrony with the environment and the climate, so as to minimise the impact of the latter and thereby reduce conditioning-related energy needs. In addition, the houses incorporate renewable on a small scale, as required to satisfy the demands of the complex.
The 24 houses were selected as the best examples of bioclimatic houses in an international competition promoted by the Tenerife island council and ITER, and endorsed by the International Union of Architects.
The dwellings have an average floor area of 110-120m² and feature different designs, making the complex a magnificent space for educating and raising awareness about applying bioclimatic principles in construction.
The complex’s outstanding feature is that it was conceived as a real-scale laboratory for monitoring and appraising the various specific bioclimatic techniques it employs, so as to help understand and raise awareness about these techniques among specialists and the general public alike. To this end, the houses are fitted with automatic energy management systems and a monitoring system featuring temperature sensors, relative humidity sensors and air flow meters.
The data collection system’s ultimate aim is to improve comfort within the dwelling. It does this by first displaying the climatic parameters it has obtained, for the user to then implement any of a number of bioclimatic strategies aimed to keep the home within a comfort zone. The energy efficiency of each dwelling can therefore be actively managed. In turn, the system is linked to a communications network which gives each household access to the climate management data from any PC that is connected to ITER’s LAN, via a common web browser.
In order to evaluate the system’s performance, the houses must be occupied. For this reason, they are made available for short-stay tourist rental (http://casas.iter.es). This also ensures that the user profile is as broad as possible, enabling the physical parameters monitored by the system to be combined with circumstantial, physiological, psychological and sociological factors, according to data supplied by the residents. This interrelation of parameters constructively hones the system and the equipment involved, making these more exportable.
The main activities carried out at the complex are as follows:
- To evaluate energy usage by simulation or in real conditions using sensors inside and outside the building.
- To establish models for integrating passive and active solar energy strategies, at both small and large scale.
- To optimise energy-related designs, models and components used in buildings.
- To demonstrate, using objective and quantified performance data, how buildings can be run in an energy-efficient way, in order to help raise public awareness and to inform.
- To optimise techniques for integrating, planning and building large-scale renewable energy installations.
- To help check the performance of buildings that are subject to different consumption patterns and user behaviours.
- To widen access to public information regarding renewables and energy efficiency.