Maison Reciprocity: Goals and Technologies

Team Réciprocité speaks about their team's goals and technologies for their Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 entry, Maison Reciprocity.


On-screen graphic: Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 in France

Narrator: Maison Reciprocity is Team Reciprocity’s entry in Solar Decathlon Europe 2014. Appalachian State University and Université d’Angers partnered together to design and build a cost effective, energy efficient and attractive solar-powered house. It’s our contribution to making a more sustainable tomorrow.

Jamie Russell, faculty advisor: This is a fairly daunting thing, but it is a great honor to be representing not just only Appalachian State University in Watauga County and North Carolina, but really representing the whole country. The area of excellence for Appalachian State is internationalism, becoming well-versed and aware of what’s happening in a global society. The theme, they say, is a world of opportunities for Appalachian students.

Daphne Carriére, Université d’Angers student: For me, it’s first representing our country and our future. It’s another way to think and another way to work and for me to bring that in France to make them improve and change their mind and organize new way to work with new technology.

Francois Thibault, faculty advisor: I think it’s an opportunity to work with a different country to improve their knowledge of different paths. For them, it’s certainly the first time they can realize something very (not understandable).

Mark Bridges, communications manager: Team Reciprocity is a continuation and a highlight of a 30-year partnership in international culture between Appalachian and Angers consisting of students across a variety of competencies coming together in the pursuit of a common goal, and that goal being not only to design and build a house to win this competition but a journey and vision that is Maison Reciprocity.

Scott Hopkins, construction manager: We’re using construction systems that no one on this team is familiar with. They’re not very prominent here in North America, they’re European technologies, so we have a steep learning curve to overcome. But aside from that I think we have a good team in place to address those challenges.

Michael Germano, project architect: The reimagined row house is taking the established row-house theme you can see in most urban centers such as New York, Paris, London and it is re-envisioning it, reimaging it so that it can be adaptable not just for more affluent families but to meet the needs of everybody.

Lukas Burgher, project engineer: Traditionally, brise-soleil means shading device and that’s what we’re using it for predominantly. It can shade the home when needed but also can open up and allow sunlight or passive solar when needed. Basically, the chord is a prefabricated unit and it contains all the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Basically, they can gain structure from each other so the brise-soleil can be supported by the chord structurally and the brise-soleil has the photovoltaics and solar thermal, so those energies are used by the chord to distribute to the house.

Hopkins: CLT is cross-laminated timber, and these are large wooden panels that are assembled by taking layers of wood that are joined together and stacking one layer 90 degrees perpendicular to the first layer in as many layers as you need in that fashion until you have a panel of the desired thickness to carry whatever load it is designed to carry.

I would like for CLTs to at least get a new look at being used here in North America. I think they have potential to enter some construction markets as a very viable solution.

Russell: So, it really, it provides a fun project that get can people interested and excited about doing their best work for something because it’s not just a textbook exercise, it’s real. And that goes across all disciplines.

Bryce Oakley, project manager: The fact that you get to see all these universities taking these homes and taking this technology to the next level to see what the future can be like is an incredible opportunity, and I just feel lucky to be a part of it.

Related galleries

  • Solar Decathlon Europe 2014
    July 11, 2014

    Students from Appalachian State University and Université d’Angers worked together to build Maison Reciprocity, a net-zero energy house that competed in Solar Decathlon Europe 2014.

    The row house was built in Boone and shipped to France, where students had 10 days to reassemble the structure for the competition June 28 – July 14. The design offers an answer to the lack of affordable, healthy, high-quality, durable, sustainable and adaptable housing.

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  • Maison Reciprocity: Design
    October 31, 2013

    Team Reciprocity speaks about how their row house design is market-ready, energy-independent, adaptable, affordable, and a community-centric residential housing solution.