FIRSTlife ● Prague, Czech Republic
University ● Czech Technical University
Task ● Renovation & Addition of storey, Prague
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.
About the team
The name of the team – FIRSTlife – bears the leading idea of the project: Feasible and Innovative Residence for STudent Life. The project is coordinated by the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University (CTU). The CTU’s multidisciplinary team took part in U.S. Solar Decathlon 2013 (SD13) under the leadership of Faculty of Architecture and have gained overall 3rd place. The team will be supported by researchers and professionals from the University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings, who have also taken part in the SD13.
The main motivation of the project is the problem of high prices and the overall unavailability of apartments in Prague. This affects the generation of young people, especially students very hard. The student dormitories are regularly full, and the offer does not cover the demand. These circumstances bring these people to formidable life situations.
FIRSTlife aims at the development of the new accommodation capacities for the focus group by extension of the existing buildings of dormitories. These buildings were built mostly at the end of the 20th century, and many of them need a retrofit, especially towards the decrease of building energy consumption. The benefit of the application of FIRSTlife solution will also be in the improvement of the original building’s performance. The model building will be student dormitories of Charles University in Prague called “Větrník”. However, the team will carry out and evaluate a modular solution that will be applicable to a wide range of buildings.
Project FIRSTlife aims at Feasible and Innovative Residences for Student Life. The team will construct and test the extension unit that will reach the Passive House level; the replaced components in the refurbished part of the existing building will be of similar quality. The structure composition with insulation will respect real limits onsite, respectively on the rooftop.
There will be used balanced ventilation with heat recovery of the highest overall efficiency in the FIRSTlife unit. On new parts, the building integrated photovoltaic systems will be used; at the existing roof, a building applied photovoltaics will be designed. The installed power will be calculated in alternatives to support the overall energy management of the building, including electromobility. Droughts and city heat island are the issues today in urban areas, thus the sustainable rainwater management and greenery application will be an essential part of the design.
Extra attention will be paid to the elimination of overheating risks of newly designed part with lightweight construction. The goal is no need for active cooling. It will be reached by considering reference data, application of passive measures for minimizing active, i.e. cooling operated via already installed ventilation systems.
Preferably, the renewable materials will be used for the construction (wood-based construction element, thermal insulation, recycled materials and elements), in general materials with small carbon footprint, which will be separately assessed. The availability of these materials is very high also because of the bark beetle calamity in the Czech forests. The exploitation and the use of the harvested calamity wood are very welcomed by society as a step towards managing the calamity. This aim will help us to reach the overall carbon neutrality of FIRSTlife project.