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Solar Decathlon

Students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), have joined forces to produce a net-zero micro-home concept for 2013's Solar Decathlon competition. Dubbed "DALE," the futuristic dwelling is able to expand in size, for those situations in which you don't want your micro-home to be quite so micro. Read More
A net-zero house project called SunBloc has won the 2012 RIBA President Medals Student Awards, a prestigious architectural competition that takes place annually in the UK. Devised by students from the London Metropolitan University, SunBloc is tailored for the Solar Decathlon Competition, but the students say it can be adapted to other contexts. Read More
The French Rhone Alpes team has won this year’s European Solar Decathlon with its ecological modular home concept. Dubbed Canopea, the prefabricated prototype home has been designed so that a series of Canopea modules can be stacked on top of one another, creating a “nanotower” which could house up to ten families. The concept is hoped to foster the development of sustainable community living in urban areas, while also taking advantage of the sun’s energy through an integrated system of rooftop photovoltaic panels. Read More
The Romanian Solar Decathlon team has presented its innovative solar-powered prefab home ... and it looks good enough to move into. Dubbed Prispa, it blends comfortable living zones with an abundance of natural light. The prototype uses wood as its primary material, while clay has been used to finish the interior walls, and the photovoltaic system has been mounted onto the roof’s metallic boarding. Read More
On the eve of the opening of the European Solar Decathlon, a team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics is ready to present its innovative solar-powered prefab home, which produces twice the amount of energy than it consumes. The Solar Decathlon Europe is an international competition among universities which promotes research in the development of energy-effective and light-structured residential buildings that only use solar energy. This year the prestigious competition is being hosted in Madrid, Spain and will see a selection of university entries from across Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, The United Kingdom and Romania, and four more from China, Japan, Brazil and Egypt. Read More
For its entry in the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe, a group of Brazilian architects, designers, students and researchers has taken its cues from the native Tupi-Guarani people, one of the largest aboriginal nations in Brazil. Called Ekó House, the project scales up Ikea’s self-assembling concept and combines it with solar power, rain collection, natural lighting, a dry toilet and a system to turn sewage into garden fertilizer. Read More
The CHIP House - which stands for "Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype" - was started with the goal of creating a net-zero energy home (i.e. one that requires no external energy source), and it looks like the designers exceeded that target. The house actually generates three times as much energy as it uses thanks to solar panels and a host of energy saving measures. The incredibly energy efficient design would make the house stand out on its own, but the integrated Kinect controls and smart features push the CHIP House above your typical green-conscious home and into "home of the future" material. Read More
Italy and France have joined forces to create the "Astonyshine" 100 percent solar home concept as part of the 2012 Solar Decathlon Europe. The international competition is open to universities from around the globe and promotes research into the development of efficient housing. Astonyshine is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Mediterranean villa, and is the result of the combined efforts from Polytechnic of Bari (Italy), University of Ferrara (Italy), Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais (France) and Ecole des Ponts ParisTech (France). Read More
On the last two occasions, the overall winner of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has gone to Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt but this year the top honor has stayed with one of the home teams. As the name might suggest, the University of Maryland's winning WaterShed project features some novel innovations to make the best use of water, in addition to an intriguing internal waterfall that helps reduce the load on the structure's air conditioning system. Read on for a brief look at the top five winning projects, as well as the People's Choice. Read More
The U.S. Department of Energy's 2011 Solar Decathlon competition is set to kick off at the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., in September. The event challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive and in the lead up, the University of Maryland Solar Decathlon team has unveiled its entry called the WaterShed – a structure designed to capture more than just energy from the sun. Read More
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