In 2002, the United States Department of Energy initiated the Solar Decathlon – an intense competition challenging collegiate teams to create residences that fuse the most sustainable technologies with functionality, comfort, and of course, aesthetics. Over the course of the past decade, interest in the Decathlon has grown dramatically [be sure to read our previous Solar Decathlon coverage] as the competition has piqued the interest of students from top universities, as well as millions of public followers learning the advantages of energy-efficient, cost-effective housing.
Team New Jersey, a collaborative effort between the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, has designed a handicap accessible net-zero energy prototype featuring low-maintenance concrete construction and the latest green technologies, complete with a striking beach-inspired aesthetic.
More about the residence, including a great video, after the break.
Entitled eNJoy, the promising design balances passive and active systems which results in a performative architecture blending environmental intelligence with cutting edge technology. While proper orientation and roof pitch maximize the residence’s solar gain, cross ventilation and rainwater collection, a dual heat exchanger, reverse cycle chiller and energy recovery ventilation further enhance the desired indoor condition.
Aesthetically, the weight of the inverted-hip roof visually becomes lighter as it rests upon the clerestory bedroom windows. This design decision allows light to pierce the interior from above while the solid concrete walls provide a sense of privacy for the occupants. Selective perforations create a dynamic play of light against the exposed concrete, whereas the full glazing of the kitchen creates a spacious and welcoming entrance condition.
Organizationally, the centralized mechanical core seperates the private from the public zones while also consolidating the plumbing system for ease of construction.
The New Jersey team is the first in the history of the Decathlon to use precast concrete panels as the primary construction material. Chosen for its thermal properties, the EPS insulated panels boast a high-R value and serve as a flexible prefabricated component used for the walls, floor and ramp of the residence. Furthermore, in addition to its sustainable qualities, the material offers a textured quality for the residence that is enhanced with the scattered punched openings. ”The use of cutting-edge solar, fabrication and environmental intelligence of today’s smart homes meet the age-old technology of concrete,” explained the team.
After two years of hard work, the team is only months away from constructing the residence on the National Mall in Washington D.C.. We’ll keep you updated on Team New Jersey’s build as well as the other 19 competing universities’ proposal throughout the competition.
Kudos, NJIT + Rutgers, and good luck with the build!
Team Name: Team New Jersey
Architecture and Design: New Jersey Institute of Technology
Engineering: Rutgers University
The New Jersey Institute of Technology
Students: Jen Switala ; Jordan Tait [Student Captain: Architecture Project Manager]; Ian Siegel [Student Captain: Health and Safety Officer]; Enkela Malellari [Student Captain: Construction Manager]; Ahmed Emara [Student Captain: Fire Watch]; Andrew Mailloux; Brian Darling; Issac Salas; Jay Piccone; Jon Gann; JP Polewczak; Liam Morrow; Vipin Raj; Steven Michael; Zachary Hvizdak; Dana Koenitzer
Faculty: Richard Garber ; Jason Valdina
Students: Melanie Davidson ; Carolyn Worstell [Student Captain: Communications and Sponsorship]; Patrick Mullen [Student Captain: Project Engineer]; Andrew Watson [Student Captain: Electrical Engineer]; Cheung Lam [Student Captain: Computer Engineer]; James Winka [Student Captain: Instrumentation Contact]; Vishana Ramdeen ; Garan Gunn ; Roman Dushkin ; Sarah Nitchman ; Alex Kozar ; Alexandra J. Bolinder-Gibsand ; Erin G. Greenwood ; Jason Benson ; Michael Saltarella ; Victoria Scott ; Jenna Gatto ; Ibrahime Bouzine ; Jonathon Reuther ; Eric Tuvel ; Joshua Jensen ; Kristine Choi
Faculty: Clinton Andrews ; Dunbar Birnie ; Wolfram Hoefe ; Michael Muller ; Kimberley Cook-Chenault ; Douglas Amarhanow ; Michael Kornitas Jennifer Senick [Communications and Marketing, Rutgers Center for Green Building]; Deborah Plotnik [Program Coordinator, Rutgers Center for Green Building]; Tamara Swedberg