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Solar Decathlon

There are still over six months to go until the next US Solar Decathlon, but competitors are already hard at work building their prototype sustainable home entries. The first to come to our attention is NexusHaus, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas at Austin and Munich's Technische Universität München that will run solely on solar power and focuses on water efficiency. Read More
The results are finally in for this year's European Solar Decathlon competition. The Rhome for denCity project, by Italy's Team Rhome, has been declared the overall competition winner, while second and third places go to Philéas by France's Atlantic Challenge, and Prêt-à-Loger by Dutch team TU Delft, respectively. Gizmag was in Paris over the weekend to take a closer look at the prototype sustainable houses. Read More
The 2014 European Solar Decathlon recently kicked-off in Paris, and a total of 20 sustainable houses and 800 competitors hailing from 16 countries have arrived in the City of Light's Château de Versailles estate. Running until July 14, the competition offers a different take on the future of sustainable living compared to last year's US Solar Decathlon, and features a greater overall focus on inner-city living. Read More
In high-density areas like the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, people have long looked to expand vertically to make use of the limited land, resulting in a lack of vegetation, high humidity and high energy usage. According to Unicode, a team of Taiwanese architects and designers, 50 percent of the county's housing constructions are either common multiple-story rowhouses or larger duplex apartment buildings, many of which have illegal makeshift shelters on their rooftops to provide extra living space. Unicode has developed a concept house which would give these shelters a greenhouse-inspired makeover, shifting reliance to renewable energy sources and improving Taipei's sustainability in the process. Read More
Small capsule-like homes where management of utilities, such as electricity and water, is left to the city could form part of a sustainable future for Paris, according to a team of the city's designers and architects. Live-Lib, a concept for a two-part residential building, is designed to provide a degree of privacy while feeding off communal, sustainable resources to drive down costs and energy usage. Read More
Around 60 percent of the homes in the Netherlands are row house terraces, with around a quarter of those built in the post-war period. While these constructions characterize much of the Dutch urban landscape, they weren't exactly built with energy efficiency as their first priority. A team of Delft University students has developed a concept for a solar-powered skin designed to optimize energy usage, while also preserving this classic Dutch architecture. Read More
It won first prize in the Affordability category of the 2011 Solar Decathlon, and in December of 2012 Empowerhouse became Washington DC’s first Passive House. In a video interview just released by the US Department of Energy, its new owner describes how the house's energy-saving design means a brighter future for her family. Read More
Team Austria (Vienna University of Technology) has been announced the overall winner of Solar Decathlon 2013 after the closest competition in the history of the event. Second place went to University of Nevada Las Vegas, with the Czech Technical University achieving third place overall. Read More
A group of students from the University of Wollongong took a typical Australian "fibro house," and retrofitted it with technology which includes solar panels, climate control, and an energy monitoring system. The end result, dubbed Illawarra Flame, is a net-zero home which offers a potential starting point for transforming many similar properties into low-energy dwellings. Read More
Since its inception back in 2002, the biennial US Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon has given collegiate teams a chance to show off their best solar powered home designs. Gizmag takes a closer look at five of this year's 20 entrants which will compete in October. Read More
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