Solar Decathlon

Every 2 years there is an event in Washington DC called the solar decathlon.  This is a competition of 92 universities that come together and create 92 different off the grid houses.  I have been wanting to go for a long time, but this year isn’t my year.  However, they make some really awesome videos for it, so this week I am going to highlight many of them.

  1. I visited the show, it is quite nice. I just want to make a small correction. None of the houses are designed to be “off the grid”. They have a zero energy footprint, yes, but are specifically designed to be connected to the power grid. They have no energy storage build-in, they consume energy on “night/cloudy days” and give back on sunny days.

  2. Cool design. Is there anywhere I can get a measured floor plan break down? I’d at lease like to know how wide it is and how thick those vented windows are.

  3. I’ve looked at all of the entries online (and will visit them soon), and I find it dispiriting to see that so many teams designed houses with flat roofs. The Tennessee team believes it references the cantilevered barns of Appalachia, but without a pitched roof that link is lost on anyone but a modern architect. If the goal is to offer the public a design for a more sustainable way of life, then it will be difficult to succeed if the product does not work within our common conceptions of what a house looks like.

  4. This is cool. Nice find Ryan. I like the wood drainage floor in the bathroom. And how the kitchen can be closed off. Very cool!

  5. Les, each team’s page has construction drawings in pdf format freely available. For instance, look at Team New Zealand’s page:

    On the right sidebar under the videos, you’ll see a link to the drawings.

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