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undersides remain exposed. These beams carry a 50-mm-thick tongue-and-groove boarding with a floating screed and footfall sound insulation totalling approx. 100 mm, and a PVC or carpet floor covering. The rooftop patio has a vapour barrier on top of the boarding, 250 mm thermal insulation, plant root-resistant waterproofing, 20-mm-thick protective matting and loosely laid wooden open-grid flooring.

Construction | Very accurate work was required in the fabrication of the 15 tonne staircase tower. The segments were fabricated by the Blumer company on the CNC-controlled "Lignamatic", including the rebates and holes, to a dimensional tolerance of 0.2 mm. These pieces were joined in jigs after glueing in the hoops. To carry the vertical loads, the lower section of the 18 sides of the core were strengthened with additional vertical timbers. Once on site, the complete, finished tower, including staircase, was lifted into position on the prepared steel rings of the pivot mechanism by means of a mobile crane.

The entire facade of the "Heliotrop" solar-energy house was assembled on site using beam-and-column construction. The system has in the meantime undergone further developments. Now the storeys are fabricated in sectors like "pieces of cake"; these are then lifted into position with a crane. This leads to a significantly shorter assembly time of about 14 days. The solar-energy house exhibited at SWISSBAU '95 in Basle was in fact built according to this method. It was dismantled after the exhibition and rebuilt in Nuremberg.

Costs | The total cost of the "Heliotrop" house, excluding foundation, waste disposal facilities such as composting system and biological waste-water treatment, as well as seasonal hot water storage, was approx. 1.8 million DM. However, the "Heliotrop" house is assembled from "modules" which permit the construction of smaller and simpler houses. For example, the smallest unit - without pivot mechanism but with panorama glazing (U-value 0.4 W/m2K) and 120 m2 of living space - costs about 700 000 DM. This price includes all ancillary costs.

10 | The steel connecting hoops are glued into the KERTO-O boards in the factory.

11 | The completed "trunk":

3 m in diameter and 14.50 m long, with door openings.

12 | The supporting construction for the facade and floors is attached to the "trunk" on site.

2 | Longitudinal section, scale 1:200. The timber construction is supported on a concrete substructure and rests neatly against the existing masonry building.

3 | Plan, scale 1:200. Meeting room and office with projecting balcony.

3 | Plan, scale 1:200. Meeting room and office with projecting balcony.

4 | Longitudinal section through timber frame, scale 1:200. The regular column grid is clearly visible.

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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