Contributed by Mark Johnson, FAIA
This week I’m sharing my favorite bi-annual event, the Solar Decathlon sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Winners of this event spoke at last week’s AIA Architect’s Convention in Washington DC. I’ve participated in six of these innovative homes over the years by sponsoring water and energy saving appliances that help the university student teams compete for top prize. Each team devotes nearly two years designing and building their decathlon entry for this singular international competition. The Solar Decathlon website will lead you to past, present, and upcoming entries for the 2013 Decathlon, all between 600 square feet and 1,000 square feet in size. Though the entries are experimental homes, I can’t think of a better learning lab for exploring the topic of ‘Living Small, Living Local.’
Visitors tour the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in Washington, with Arlington, VA, left, and the Lincoln Memorial, right, in the background. Photo by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Here are the top three overall winners from the Solar Decathlon including links to their websites and video tours. The scoring is so close in the ten-category competition that all 20 entries are worth a look. I hope you’ll be inspired by this collection of sustainable homes designed by architecture, design, and engineering students who have not yet ‘put on the blinders’ of designing and building in the real world. Their creativity, energy and dedication are unstoppable...No Fear!
1st Place - WaterShed - from the University of Maryland. Click on the picture to learn more. Photo by Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
The target market for the 1st place design is working couples looking for a live/work habitat in an efficient, sustainable footprint. The home’s interior and built-in furniture are highly integrated and convert from work space by day to living space at night. See and hear the compelling story in the WaterShed video!
2nd Place - INhome - from the Purdue University. Click on the picture to learn more. Photo by Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
INhome, the 2nd place winner, is designed for transport and mobility, yet it’s a 984 square foot home, one of the largest homes in the Solar Decathlon. The home’s design aesthetic is traditional, it is built of structurally insulated panels (SIPS) and incorporates a combination of passive and active systems for saving energy. Join Mallory Schaus, Purdue student and Project Mechanical Engineer, as she takes you on a tour of the project in the INhome video.
3rd Place - FirstLight - from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Click on the picture to learn more. Photo by Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
FirstLight, one of four entries from outside the U.S., took 3rd place in the Solar Decathlon. The home is based on New Zealand’s iconic ‘Kiwi bach’ style, often a summertime habitat, composed of recycled parts, that combines indoor and outdoor living. The FirstLight house is currently being constructed for a fourth and final time on a beautiful site on the coast, just south of Napier in a place called Waimarama. See the FirstLight video for highlights of the entire story.
In next week’s blog, we’ll explore a historic retrofit-remodel home in the same Ann Arbor neighborhood as the 723 Spring Street LEED Platinum home. Both of these exciting homes will be open to the public on June 9-10 during MISSION ZERO FEST!
Posted: 5/21/2012 2:56:19 PM by
Heather Wallace | with 0 comments