A team of Dutch university students have developed a concept for a solar-powered skin that could be attached to buildings to optimize energy usage without compromising the Netherlands' architectural and aesthetic traditions.
The skin would cover the entire exterior of a house from front to back. One side of the skin would be fitted with solar panels, while the other would be fitted with insulation materials to trap heat indoors.
The skin's genius lies in its ability to adapt to different weather conditions. During winter, the skin encloses the house entirely to trap heat indoors. In the autumn and spring, it opens partially to provide ventilation. In the hotter months of the year, it can be completely opened up to provide maximum airflow.
The skin is specially designed for the row-house style of homes that make up around 1.4 million homes in the Netherlands, or around 60% of housing structures in that country.