Designing roofs for well-being and energy efficiency

VELUX MODEL HOME 2020, France: Maison Air et Lumière is a new generation of active house designed with the residents' quality of life.

Maison Air et Lumière is a new generation of active house designed with the residents' quality of life at the heart of its environmental approach. Thanks to the ingenious use of its pitched roof, the house provides both a pleasant living environment and energy efficiency. The key to its architectural design is the different roof pitches that boost the building's potential to capture solar energy, turning it into a home with a positive energy balance. Air and daylight infuse the entire space, creating a healthy indoor environment.

The house, which is being built at Verrières-le-Buisson, a green oasis close to Paris, is part of the Europe-wide VELUX Model Home 2020 project. Once completed, its occupants will give feedback on their experiences of living in the house, and energy performance data will be collected as a basis for European research into the sociological and scientific aspects of sustainable living.

Ventilation and daylight at the heart of comfortable living
By clever use of the space under the roof, the architect has created a habitable area of 130 m² over two levels with an intermediate level between the garden level and the upper floor. The home has been designed to capture natural light from all directions: southern light, northern light and top light. Creating balanced light throughout the house, this makes for a pleasant and healthy living environment.

The architectural design greatly facilitates natural ventilation, which, when the season and the weather require, can be enhanced by double-flow mechanical ventilation. In the summer months, an intelligent control system opens windows and deploys sun screens to regulate the indoor temperature and ensure optimum comfort.

The roof – the fifth active facade
The pitched roof is part and parcel of France's cultural heritage, its slope varying according to region and climate. Thanks to the modular design of Maison Air et Lumière, the pitched roof of each individual variant can be adapted to location, orientation and use. The steepness of the roof can be varied according to how much solar energy and daylight is required. It also allows for a wide range of interior volumes to suit occupants' requirements in terms of use, dimensions and layout of the living space.

Maison Air et Lumière is one example of this concept. Comprising three volumes fitted into one another, it provides quality living space in a wide variety of interior designs.

The south-facing roof of the central volume comes in two gradients, enabling the thermal and photovoltaic solar panels to harvest optimum amounts of energy from the sun. The pitched roof is not simply a protective barrier, but the fifth active facade of the house and a key component in optimising its energy efficiency and overall architectural aesthetics.

Energy efficiency
The energy efficiency derives from the maximum insulation of the house combined with the optimised capture of sunlight through the windows, reducing heating demand to a minimum. The energy concept of the house is based on the maximum use of renewable resources: solar energy, natural light and fresh air.

Heat and domestic hot water are provided by a heat pump connected to thermal solar panels and a low-temperature underfloor heating system. All residual energy consumption is provided by the photovoltaic panels integrated into the roof, resulting in a positive energy balance.

An accessible, adaptable house with variable layout
The architecture of Maison Air et Lumière is adapted harmoniously to its site. The slope of the site is used to organise the floor levels, creating an additional level between the garden level and the upper floor.

The modular architectural concept of the house allows adaptation to suit other contexts, for example terraced houses or town houses. Whether the house is large or small, in an urban or rural environment, the concept's flexibility allows Maison Air et Lumière's principles of comfortable living, energy performance and environmental quality to be used in a wide variety of contexts.

Project managementArchitects: Nomade ArchitectesEngineering consultants (thermal engineering): Cardonnel Ingénierie Engineering consultants (structural engineering): E.T.H.A.

VKR Group partners

Industry partnersGroupe Saint-Gobain, represented by its companies Saint-Gobain Isover, Saint-Gobain Solar Systems, Saint-Gobain Glass Solutions and PlacoplatreAldesUmicore (VMZINC)