Solar Decathlon 2015 Update

Solar Decathlon 2015 House of West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
STILE house from West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata

Meet some more of the teams from the Solar Decathlon 2015.  It will take place Oct. 8–18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

  • Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015
  • Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

West Virginia/Rome: West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata

After joining forces for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013, West Virginia University and Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata have partnered once again to present STILE—a house that merges Italian and Appalachian design concepts with innovative energy techniques to demonstrate that residents need not sacrifice comfort for solar power.

STILE is a simple and compact house covered by an elegant, Roman-inspired arch. The arch creates a covered passage that guides visitors inside, shades the house, and supports the solar energy arrays. A patio occurs naturally as a result of the arch’s shading effect.

STILE’s floor plan maximizes public spaces and promotes an open flow with the outdoors. The northern section contains private spaces, including the bathroom, bedroom, and utility room. The rest of the house is designed as common space with entertaining in mind. This includes the kitchen and dining area as well as the large, open living room, which features a solar chimney that ventilates the house. In addition, many of the southern walls are large sliding-glass doors that can open to allow residents to enjoy nice weather inside and out.

The video of STILE House:

Clemson University

Clemson University stays true to its Southern roots in its first U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon with Indigo Pine, a house that embodies the history of South Carolina while looking to the future of sustainability.

Designed for a family of four, Indigo Pine was envisioned as a family home from the start. Building on this foundation, the Clemson University team took the traditional concept of a Southern home and began redefining it in contemporary ways. This concept permeates the design and manifests in architectural details throughout. The structure is timber, but it is framed with a new technique. The roof is flat, but the ceilings are gabled. Like a traditional Southern house, the house will have a porch, but it will be an integrated part of the whole. While Indigo Pine will look unlike any house before, it will be as welcoming and familiar as any traditional South Carolina home.

Indigo Pine derives its name from two crops important to South Carolina. Indigo’s rich blue dye symbolizes the state’s tradition and culture. Pine’s sturdy versatility represents the team’s construction approach.


UC Davis: University of California, Davis

For its first U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, the University of California, Davis, is creating the M-Power house—a marketable, sustainable house that contributes to the wellbeing and dignity of migrant farm laborers. The house will demonstrate cutting-edge “smart home” technology to synchronize its demands with the needs of the electrical grid and communicate with both the resident and power provider to manage energy systems effectively.

The design of the M-Power dwelling combines public and private spaces in three linear zones. Two climate-controlled living spaces are separated by an unconditioned, enclosed deck. These three zones act as climate buffers that maximize passive cooling in summer and passive heating in winter. The units act as a system of active and passive techniques of energy efficiency. The house’s passive components allow maximum user adjustability, while active components adjust energy to residents’ needs and learn from their daily rhythms.

The M-Power house will be a modular, reusable building constructed of prefabricated components and locally available materials.


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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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