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  2. Solar Decathlon 2013

Solar Decathlon 2013: The Latest Architecture and News

Solar Decathlon 2013: Team Alberta Designs Modular Home for Remote Locations

01:00 - 23 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: Team Alberta Designs Modular Home for Remote Locations, Render. Image Courtesy of Team Alberta Solar Decathlon 2013
Render. Image Courtesy of Team Alberta Solar Decathlon 2013

Text description provided by the architects. Borealis, Team Alberta’s entry to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, addresses the housing needs of professionals working in remote locations. This modular house was designed in consideration of severe housing shortages and high housing costs driven by booming industries in northern Canada. Named after the iconic Northern Lights and lush Boreal forest, Borealis is designed to be sustainable and ecologically sensitive.

Solar Decathlon 2013: SCI-Arc & Caltech Create California-style, Zero Net Energy Bungalow

01:00 - 22 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: SCI-Arc & Caltech Create California-style, Zero Net Energy Bungalow, © Paolo Tadoc / SCI-Arc
© Paolo Tadoc / SCI-Arc

DALE, short for Dynamic Augmented Living Environment, is this year's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry for the SCI-Arc/Caltech team. Made of two movable, prefabricated modules that open to allow the outdoors in, DALE celebrates the active California lifestyle through its dynamic architecture.

DALE learns from two classic California precedents: the super-sized suburban tract home and the compact, sufficient bungalow; amending one and expanding on the other to become a new Southern California typology. At 600 square feet, it is a micro house with an unprecedented flexible interior that results in the program of a house three times the size.

Solar Decathlon 2013: UNC Charlotte Wins "People's Choice"

01:00 - 21 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: UNC Charlotte Wins "People's Choice", © Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The people have spoken: UNC Charlotte’s 2013 Solar Decathlon entry, UrbanEden has won the “People’s Choice Award.” Designed as an urban infill project for a couple in Charlotte, North Carolina, the net-zero solar-powered home defines itself by establishing a strong indoor and outdoor connection in the middle of the city. By enclosing the back deck with a seven-foot tall vertical garden and integrating a high-performance glass wall along the home’s south side, dwellers are presented with the unlikely option of privately enjoying the outdoors within a dense urban context.

Solar Decathlon 2013: Stanford University Places Fifth Overall, Ties First in Affordability

01:00 - 20 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: Stanford University Places Fifth Overall, Ties First in Affordability, Courtesy of Start.Home - Solar Decathlon Team Stanford
Courtesy of Start.Home - Solar Decathlon Team Stanford

Stanford University's Start.Home has won fifth place overall and tied for first place in affordability in the 2013 Solar Decathlon. Read the team’s description to learn more:

For the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, Stanford University designed the Start.Home to provide energy efficiency at the push of a button to a new generation of environmentally conscious occupants. With modular architecture and advanced controls to optimize each component, the house aims to spark a revolution by lowering the entry barrier for an ultra-efficient house and making sustainability trendy, social, and affordable.

Solar Decathlon 2013: Stevens Institute of Technology Places Second in Architecture, Fourth Overall

01:00 - 19 October, 2013
Courtesy of  Jason Flakes / U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Courtesy of Jason Flakes / U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Text description provided by the architects. This "L-shaped" energy smart house by the Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT), dubbed Ecohabit, won second place in the architecture category and fourth overall in this year's Solar Decathlon competition. The L-concept divides the house into two modules, "wet" and "dry". Read the team's description to learn why:

Solar Decathlon 2013: Czech Technical University Wins Architecture Contest, Places Third Overall

01:00 - 18 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: Czech Technical University Wins Architecture Contest, Places Third Overall, © Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Lauded for incorporating warm, natural wood finishes to create a “comfortable place to dwell and reenergize,” the jury of the 2013 Solar Decathlon has named Czech Technical University as winner of the competition’s “Architecture Contest,” placing them third overall.

Based on a “house within a house” concept and inspired by the Czech tradition of spending weekends in the country, the “AIR House” features a flexible, open interior that is protected by an intelligent second skin - a “solar wooden canopy” that generates energy and provides hot water via photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels. Read for the team’s project description. 

Solar Decathlon 2013: Team Las Vegas Places Second, Wins “Market Appeal”

01:00 - 15 October, 2013
© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Text description provided by the architects. Placing second overall, just a few points behind the winning 2013 Solar Decathlon team, students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (Team Las Vegas) have won the “Market Appeal” contest at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) sixth solar-home competition. Known as “DesertSol”, the project was lauded for its “livability, marketability and constructability” as well as its “appeal within the housing market of the target client chosen by team.” It is designed to be a self-reliant, energy-efficient second home for upper-middle income Americans who pursue active lifestyles in the sparsely populated Mojave Desert. Read on for the team’s project description.

Solar Decathlon 2013: Team Austria Wins Top Honors

01:00 - 14 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013: Team Austria Wins Top Honors, © Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

A team of Austrian students from Vienna University of Technology (Team Austria) has won top honors for “designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive solar-powered house” at the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon. The net-positive home, known as “LISI – Living inspired by sustainable innovation,” prides itself for being a simple, smart house that is capable of adapting to a variety of lifestyles and climate zones.

Prior to being crowned as winner, LISI competed against eighteen other student-built, solar-powered homes over the course of ten days in Irvine, California. This was the first time an Austrian university has participated in the U.S. Solar Decathlon. Learn more about the winning design by reading the team’s project description after the break.

© Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon ©  LISI - Solar Decathlon Team Austria © Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon © Jason Flakes/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon + 30

Solar Decathlon 2013

01:00 - 6 October, 2013
Solar Decathlon 2013, © DOE
© DOE

Looking for something to do this week? If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, come check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) sixth Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Currently on view through October 13, this (free!) event showcases nineteen student-built, solar-powered homes that claim to be exemplars of sustainable housing. After being closely monitored by the DOE throughout the length of the competition, one team will be crowned as winner for successfully blending affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Catch a glimpse of each project, ranked in order of the current standings, after the break.