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Sustainability + Solar Homes: Photos from the Decathlon

Posted on by Lauren Moss

 As noted in a recent post, Orange County hosted the U.S. Department of Energy's biennial green building event the Solar Decathlon this year, constructing a village of 'solar homes' in Irvine's Great Park, open to the public two weekends in October.

The twenty student-built projects compete in ten contests with specific criteria, ranging from architecture and engineering to communications and energy balance. The individual contest scores are totaled at the end of the competition to determine overall livability, efficiency and affordability, awarding the team with the highest overall score first place.

Several of our favorites took top honors, with Team Austria (above), from the Vienna Institute of Technology in the lead, Las Vegas taking second, and the Czech Republic in third; find more information and compare detailed scores by contest, team and date online at solardecathlon.gov.

  University of Nevada Las Vegas |  DesertSol House

University of Nevada Las Vegas | DesertSol House

In the popular Architecture category, Czech Technical University's AIR House was awarded first place by a jury of architects, based on criteria including 'architectural elements, environmental compatibility, and occupant comfort, design inspiration and construction specifications'.  

  Czech Technical University |  AIR House

Czech Technical University | AIR House

Ecohabit by Stevens Institute of Technology and USC's fluxHome took second and third in the competitive category.

  Stevens Institute of Technology |  Ecohabit

Stevens Institute of Technology | Ecohabit

  University of Southern California |  fluxHome

University of Southern California | fluxHome

While the living wall at Ecohabit was one of the more successful landscape implementations, all the homes featured integrated smart technologies, such as responsive shading devices and energy management systems, designed to meet or exceed the zero-net energy requirement.  
Teams also employed creative resource conservation strategies, including rainwater harvesting and solar collection, to reduce potential environmental impacts and create living environments that are not only efficient, but comfortable, beautiful and accessible.

  Team Capitol DC |  Harvest Home

Team Capitol DC | Harvest Home

  Middlebury College |  InSite

Middlebury College | InSite

  Arizona State and University of New Mexico |  SHADE

Arizona State and University of New Mexico | SHADE

  Stanford University |  Start.Home

Stanford University | Start.Home

Congrats to all the participating teams, and we look forward to seeing more innovation, creativity and green design in two years time at the next Solar Decathlon!

For high-resolution photos of all homes, click on any of the images above for a link to each project's online gallery, or take virtual 360 degree tours of each residence.

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