Austria wins Solar Decathlon 2013


Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 with its net zero energy solar-powered house that configures easily into various spaces.

Renewable and eco-friendly construction and insulation materials made of timber are easily transported and provide indoor climate comfort and carbon-neutrality.

Changeable architectural elements create a variety of sensory conditions—closing to form a protective cocoon for occupants and opening to allow them to expand their space.

Two patios create a balance between interior and exterior and public and semi-public spaces.
The passive solar design, combined with an automated screen and awning system, provides shade to keep the living spaces cool and comfortable.

A patio herb garden draws water from a rainwater reservoir.

Generous storage, completely integrated into the walls, frees the primary indoor space from clutter

A centralized utility room contains all the automated mechanical systems the house needs, including a photovoltaics monitor, ventilation, plumbing, and hot water supply.

Two high-efficiency, air-water heat pumps supply cold and hot water for space heating and cooling as well as for domestic hot water.

An energy-recovery ventilation unit acts as a heat and humidity exchanger between exhaust air and fresh intake air to keep the living spaces comfortable and healthy.

Solar Decathlon. Desert home. Arizona State and Univ of New Mexico

Sustainable desert living is the goal of this entry. Capillary mats on ceilings circulate chilled water to provide radiant cooling. Envelope design allows greater thermal efficiency. Large openings blend boundaries between indoors and outdoors. Indoor flexspace reconfigures for various uses.

SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium) pays tribute to the interdependence of desert plant life while maximizing occupant comfort and flexibility. Solar energy, regionally proven passive heating and cooling, and intensive water management nurture a healthy and sustainable habitat, and flexible, modular spaces foster a broader community concept.

Solar Decathlon. Net Zero House stays at 70 when below zero outside


Heating costs are expensive in New England. Students at Norwich University in Vermont have designed an affordable 2 bedroom 1 bath home with net zero energy use that will stay at 70 degrees even if it’s minus 20 outside. Wow.

The Solar Decathlon features homes designed and built by college students using solar power, and are judged on ‘consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.”

The solution is designed to maintain an interior temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, even when outside temperatures drop to 20 degrees below zero, all while achieving net zero energy usage.