There’s no shortage of sunlight in the wide open deserts of Egypt, and while that means lots of potential for solar energy, it also makes temperature regulation difficult. But new designs for sustainable architecture, like the SLIDES House, adapt and adjust in order to maximize solar power efficiency while keeping occupants cool.
Representing American University in Cairo’s entry for the 2012 European Solar Decathlon, the SLIDES House combines elements of traditional Egyptian architecture with modern features. Designed in the shape of a matchbox, the house includes a double layered facade of interlocking perforated pieces mimicking the patterns seen in Arabic buildings. The building is made from a recycled material developed by the students, which is a fiber-reinforced polymer made of plastic bags and wood waste.
The perforations control the amount of sunlight that enters the interior of the building, providing a cool, shaded haven from the heat without a need for air conditioning. Solar panels on the roof make use of all the sun while a grey water filter recycles water for irrigation and toilets.
The coolest feature of the building (in more ways than one!) is hinted at in the name. The perforated panels can actually slide out to reveal an inner structure with glass walls. This allows occupants to open up the interior to the light in the winter months; the screen absorbs heat which is stored in thermal mass flooring.