U.S. Department of Energy - Solar Decathlon: Page 2 of 5

2013 Winning Solar Designs
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The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams
The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams join together before the start of the competition at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Large sliding glass doors bring ample natural light into the AIR House’s interior.
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
The AIR House’s simple geometric design helped earn its win in the architecture competition.
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University celebrate their first-place win in the architecture category.
The Ecohabit house
The Ecohabit house, which featured a lush living wall of plants, came in second in the architecture competition.
UNLV’s DesertSol house
UNLV’s DesertSol house took first place for market appeal.
South-facing PV awning
The south-facing PV awning also helps shade the doors and windows from the summer sun.
Students from UNLV
Students from UNLV celebrate their victory in the market appeal category with their DesertSol house.
Team Capitol DC's Harvest Home
Team Capitol DC specified war veterans as the intended market for their Harvest Home— a habitat for “renewal and regeneration.”
The ECHO house
The ECHO house’s innovative use of an integrated mechanical system for space heating, cooling, and water heating helped it earn first place in the engineering contest.
Motorized shades function automatically
Computer-controlled motorized shades function automatically to control solar gain through the south-facing windows of the ECHO house.
Team Ontario
Team Ontario gathers to claim their first-place win in the engineering category.
UrbanEden students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
The precast concrete walls of UrbanEden, designed by students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, contain capillary tubes plumbed to roof-mounted flat-plate heat exchangers to allow heat transfer for heating and cooling.
Walter Kohn
Walter Kohn, center, recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1998, takes a guided tour of Team Austria’s house with students Philipp Klebert, left, and Claus Andreas Schnetzer, right.
Raymond Neutra
Raymond Neutra, son of an Austrian–American modern architect, signs the guest book during a tour of the Team Austria house.
Jakob Doppler and Volker Loeser
Jakob Doppler, left, explains details of the Team Austria house to Volker Loeser.
Team Austria house
Visitors line up to tour the Team Austria house.
Norwich University wins in the affordability contest.
Coming in well under the allocated construction budget earned Norwich University its win in the affordability contest.
Richard Anderson and Robert Best
Affordability contest juror Richard Anderson, left, consults with Stanford University’s Robert Best during the affordability contest walk-through.
Stanford University stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion
Stanford University also stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion, earning the full 100 points for the affordability category.
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home was also constructed for less than $250,000, capturing all of the available points in the affordability contest.
Santa Clara University’s house
Santa Clara University’s house won the comfort zone contest.
Earthen clay on the interior of the wall helps keep the bedroom cool
A coating of earthen clay on the interior of the wall behind the bed helps keep the bedroom cool by absorbing and releasing moisture based on indoor humidity levels.
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard and barely visible in the home helps keep interior temperatures comfortable in the Santa Clara University team’s home.
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house
Flat-plate solar collectors on the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house helped it tie with six other teams for first place in the hot water contest.
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system consists of evacuated tubes on an innovative mounting system.
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team conducts a hot water draw.
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home was another that used evacuated-tube collectors to meet its water-heating needs.
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category with four other teams.
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category using standard, off-the-shelf models.
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University explains the strategic location of the washer and dryer to Solar Decathlon visitors.
Stanford University’s appliances
Stanford University’s appliances made the grade for first place.
Team Capitol DC hide the washer and dryer from view
Team Capitol DC used a sliding wall to hide the washer and dryer from view when not in use.
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team prepares a meal for the home entertainment contest.
Team Ontario’s house
The sloped exostructure of Team Ontario’s house accommodates a flush-mounted PV array.
The houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Once teams passed the necessary inspections, their houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert,
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert, center, celebrates with his teammates.
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria’s unique curtained home
Team Austria’s unique curtained home captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte took home the Solar Decathlon People’s Choice award.
The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
AIR House from the Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
Students from Czech Republic’s Czech Technical University
The Ecohabit house
UNLV’s DesertSol house
South-facing PV awning
Students from UNLV
Team Capitol DC's Harvest Home
The ECHO house
Motorized shades function automatically
Team Ontario
UrbanEden students at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Walter Kohn
Raymond Neutra
Jakob Doppler and Volker Loeser
Team Austria house
Norwich University wins in the affordability contest.
Richard Anderson and Robert Best
Stanford University stayed within the Decathlon’s budget criterion
The Kentucky/Indiana team’s home
Santa Clara University’s house
Earthen clay on the interior of the wall helps keep the bedroom cool
An in-ceiling hydronic system embedded in the plasterboard
Missouri University of Science and Technology’s house
Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology’s solar hot water system
Scott Kollwitz of the Kentucky/Indiana team
The University of Calgary’s Team Alberta home
Stevens Institute of Technology shared first place in the appliances category
The University of Southern California shared first place in the appliances category
Nick Jensen of Santa Clara University
Stanford University’s appliances
Team Capitol DC hide the washer and dryer from view
Ana Toledo of the Stevens Institute of Technology team
Team Ontario’s house
The houses were connected to the village grid for the remainder of the homes’ construction and for the competition.
Team Austria’s Philipp Klebert,
Team Austria captured first place in the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
Team Austria’s unique curtained home
Students from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Market Appeal

For this contest, each team defined a target home buyer and the jury of homebuilding professionals assigned a score based on the responsiveness to that hypothetical client. The jury evaluated the teams’ drawings, construction specifications, audio-visual presentations, and market appeal narratives, and performed an on-site evaluation of the finished houses.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ DesertSol house, envisioned as a vacation home in the Mojave Desert, was the winner of this category. Their passive solar design also incorporated rainwater harvesting for irrigation and cooling through an outdoor misting system. A southern canopy fitted with PV modules prevents the high-angled summer sun from entering the house. A retractable shade screen is also included for summer shading. These design elements, along with a combination of closed-cell, open-cell, and spray-foam insulation in the walls, ceiling, and floors, help achieve the thermal goals of the house.

One of the more unique markets identified was Team Capitol DC’s Harvest Home—a habitat for “renewal and regeneration”—that specified war veterans as their market. Besides providing interaction with the house’s energy systems and edible garden, Team Capitol DC integrated a network of activity sensors to provide physical-therapy data and to analyze living habits for energy management. After the completion of the event, the house was donated to the Wounded Warrior Homes program, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the same target clients.

Engineering

The engineering contest is juried by engineers who evaluate the houses’ innovations—but not at the expense of functionality. The jury considers not only if the engineering features function properly, but if they are efficient and reliable.

Engineering contest winner Team Ontario built the ECHO house, designed for their heating-dominated Canadian climate. The wall structures use vacuum-insulation panels with an insulating capacity of about R-60—more than twice that of stick-framed homes with conventional fiberglass insulation. An integrated mechanical system provides heating, cooling, dehumidification, and domestic hot water. The house also includes a predictive shading system using weather forecasts and computer simulations to control solar gain via motorized shades located on the wide, south-facing windows in the kitchen.

Other interesting engineering applications included several innovations incorporated into the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s UrbanEden house. UrbanEden uses a lower carbon-footprint geopolymer cement to replace Portland cement in its precast concrete walls. Its retractable roof-mounted solar array allows the house occupants to adjust the array’s position to provide shading or allow sunlight to the southern patio. And an innovative radiant heating and cooling system uses a single pump, along with the high-mass concrete walls and a rooftop heat exchanger, to control interior temperatures. The capillary tubes are embedded in the concrete walls as well as set in plaster in the ceiling. The tubes are plumbed to flat-plate heat exchangers on the roof to allow heat transfer for heating and cooling.

Communications

Without effective marketing, the greatest innovations and inspiring concepts can be built into a house and still be unappreciated. The communications contest judges how well the teams educated the public about their houses. All of the teams were required to develop multiple materials, including websites and an audiovisual presentation that walks viewers through the house while informing them of key features. For the on-site tours, teams were judged on their abilities to present information in different time formats based on the number of visitors present.

Team Austria won this contest. Along with their online presentations and information, they capitalized on the long entrance ramp of their house, using a series of displays to inform visitors about different aspects of the house.

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