The Missouri University of Science and Technology entry in the U.S. Solar Decathlon 2013 competition, which takes place in Irvine, California on October 3-13, 2013, is Chameleon House, so named for its ability to adapt to the environment and transform according to the needs of its residents.
Winners of the Solar Decathlon China 2013, Team UOW (of University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra Institute) was the first Australian team to have ever won a place in a Solar Decathlon final and was the largest student-run competition that the UoW has ever entered.
Hosted by the United States Department of Energy, the Chinese National Energy Administration, and Peking University, Solar Decathlon China 2013 challenged 24 teams from 14 countries to design, build, and operate a solar-powered home that is energy efficient, cost effective to build, and appealing. Categories in which entries are judged include architecture, engineering, solar application, energy balance, market appeal, home entertainment, and appliances.
The Santa Clara team are designing a 980-square-foot Radiant House for their entry into the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition. The team’s goal is to expand the accessibility of solar energy and prove that sustainable living is something that can easily be achieved in this day and age. Another important innovation of the Radiant House project is the use of bamboo to build a large portion of the structural elements of the house. Bamboo is used in Radiant House’s walls, floor and ceiling and the Santa Clara team spent the last 10 years designing and engineering bamboo into structural elements.
When it came time to make a home together, Jason and Stephanie Specht wanted to build a sustainable house in Thaxton, VA which is classified as a Climate Zone 4A. Upon consultation with the representatives of Structures Design/Build company they opted for a Passivhaus design. The custom optimized Passivhaus design created by Structures Design/Build allowed the Spechts to achieve cost parity with traditional construction.
The Keith family from Elizabethtown, KY was disappointed with the short lifespan of classic asphalt shingles covering their roof. Only six years after the last replacement, they were once again forced to reroof. Looking for a longer lasting and more sustainable solution, they opted for seam metal panels made by Metal Sales. These metal panels are durable, elegant, energy efficient and sustainable.
The Keith residence is a modern Mediterranean style home with a taupe-colored stone exterior and dark bronze accents on windows and doors. Aesthetically, the metal roofing panels blend in with the other design elements of the house perfectly. The Keith’s roof was covered by 110 squares of Metal Sales’ 24 gauge, 16” wide Vertical Seam panels with a PVDF (Kynar 500®) finish in the Dark Bronze color. Since the metal panels come in a variety of colors, the homeowners where able to choose the color that best complements the exterior color scheme of their home.
Marc Rutenberg, the CEO of the Florida company Marc Rutenberg Homes, has recently successfully designed and built a luxury home that complies with and even surpasses all Energy Star standards and is LEED Platinum certified. The Castaway III, as the house is called, measures 4,552-square feet, which is about 3,100 square feet larger than the average zero-energy home. This house proves that there is no need to sacrifice comfort and luxury to reduce one’s carbon footprint.