Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Winner of the Solar Decathlon 2013

In October, eighteen collegiate teams from around the world went to Irvine, CA to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. Collegiate teams composed of architecture, engineering, business and communications students designed, built and operated solar-powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient and attractive.

In addition to home design, almost half of the competition teams showcased an electric vehicle next to their house.

Introduced in 2011, the competition requires that all houses be constructed for $250,000 or less to earn maximum points.

In 2013, the winner was an entry from Vienna University of Technology (Team Austria). University of Nevada Las Vegas took second place, followed by Czech Republic, comprised of students from Czech Technical University, in third place.

The winning design is a net-positive home, known as “LISI – Living inspired by sustainable innovation.” This is a simple, smart house that is capable of adapting to a variety of lifestyles and climate zones. This was the first time an Austrian university has participated in the U.S. Solar Decathlon.

The LISI entry was designed as a pre-fabricated modular wooden frame construction that allows for quick and simple assembly and disassembly. The plus-energy home generates all required energy from a roof-mounted PV array. The supply of cold and hot water for space heating, cooling and for domestic hot water relies on two air-water heat pumps.

An ERV unit provided comfortable air conditioning, which acts as a heat and humidity exchanger between used exhausted air and fresh intake air. A functional floor system regulated the entire buildings climate using water, air, and active cubic capacity. It efficiently provided heating, cooling, and fresh air to create a consistently comfortable indoor climate. In addition, an innovative shower tray recovers thermal energy from drain water through a heat exchanger, significantly reducing the net energy consumption needed for daily hygiene.

The winning home's synergy of modular timber lightweight construction, the use of eco-friendly materials and renewable energies, plus sophisticated home automation creates a sustainable and affordable high-quality housing project adaptable for different needs of users and sites.

Click here for more information about LISI and other entries.

Click here to view video tours inside the houses

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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