Designed and built by 25 students from Chalmers University in Sweden, HALO is a socially sustainable home for four students, running on renewable energy from the sun. HALO was designed using one underlying concept: shared space is double space.
The shape and name of HALO was inspired by the optical phenomenon that takes the form of a round shining circle around the sun. The round shape of HALO’s structure provides maximum interior area while minimizing exterior perimeter, reducing heat loss potential. While the total area is low, and interior space only 60 m², the students are offered large common spaces and smaller private areas. A mixture between fixed and movable furniture allows for shifting interior styles and room layout. The curved roof creates shaded outdoor spaces protected from precipitation and wind.
Resting on Scandinavian traditions, HALO also focuses on the usage of wood, both for construction and surface finishes. The few but optimally placed windows take in daylight, mainly from the south.
The roof is constructed of monocrystalline silicone photovoltaics laminated in thin acrylic plastic and coated with a high strength polymer. The cells were then applied to 10 mm thick double wall polycarbonate sheets which act as the waterproofing membrane for the roof. The solar panels are not just attached to the roof, they are the roof. Solar cells are often perceived as a limitation, due to strict module measures. HALO shows a potential for solar technologies to be truly integrated into the architectural design of a house.
The envelope has been designed using Passivehouse design principles, with heavily insulated walls, roof, floor and minimal openings. The cooling, heating, and hot water are all provided by a small air handling/ heat pump unit with heat recovery in a central core module, allowing for shorter connections and simple distribution.