Solar Decathlon Brings Variety of Modular Houses

Reuters reports the U.S. Energy Department’s Solar Decathlon competition resulted in an array of modular homes built by collegiate design teams from across the globe. The homes have to be between 600 and 1000 square feet, no taller than 18 feet, and solar powered. The CHIP (compact hyper-insulated prototype) House, from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Technology, wears its insulation on the outside—it is wrapped in white vinyl. Its shape is to facilitate the movement of air, and most of the electric devices are controlled by an iPad and XBOX 360 Kinect. Utilizing available space in a large urban area, the City College of New York students built a house to sit atop a high-rise residential or commercial building. Canada’s University of Calgary students designed a tortoise-style TRTL (technological residence, traditional living) house with the solar panels resembling the shell. The offering from Tongji University in China is a Y-shaped modular house, utilizing triangular shapes in everything from furnishings to flooring. The homes are judged on the basis of affordability, appliances, architecture, comfort zone, communications, energy balance, engineering, home entertainment, hot water and market appeal. The event will continue through Oct. 2 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

(photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy)

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