Right now 20 solar-powered homes are competing for bragging rights at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. With a few more contests left and the final results this Friday, Team California is edging ahead of the pack. They’ve won both the architectural and communications contests and scored third in the market viability contest. That said, both Team Germany and Cornell are doing some incredible things, and anything can happen. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Refract House can hold on to first.
Hot on the heels of acquiring Michelle Kaufmann Designs, Blu Homes has now announced the completion of their first home in Colorado. Homeowners Michael and Nikki Fischer have moved into their custom Blu | Chalet, and they seem to love it (watch video below). With a blend of smart design and energy efficient products, energy costs for the Fischer Chalet are expected to be about 30-50% less than a similar, traditionally constructed home.
Team Germany took first prize at Solar Decathlon 2007, and they’re moving up in the rankings this year. After the architectural competition, the team is now solidly in second place with a few more days to go. Could the cube with a solar facade bring last year’s victor its second consecutive win? In 2007, Team Germany had a beautiful home covered in oak louvered frames with integrated photovoltaics. This year, the team of 24 architects and students has furthered the same theme with 40 single-crystal silicon panels on the roof and roughly 250 thin-film CIGS panels on the sides.
Earlier this month, we previewed each of 20 solar-powered homes competing in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. Over the next few weeks, we’ll try to delve into more detail to uncover innovation at its best. This house, the Silo House, was designed and built by over 150 students and faculty at Cornell University. It features three, 16-foot diameter silos that hold the kitchen, bedroom, and living room. The Silo House is grid-tied and powered by 40, 200-watt photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal system, and a building integrated solar thermal system. The Silo House currently leads the competition … will they be the team to take first place?
This is the Yannell Residence in Chicago, Illinois, a home that was designed and built as an exercise in net zero energy living — it produces at least as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. It received LEED Platinum certification in July 2009, and has been on a roll getting media attention all over the place. Some say it’s one of the greenest houses ever built, but one thing is for sure: it has a ton of interesting green elements.
In the past few weeks, the Brad Pitt Make It Right foundation in New Orleans has been blanketed with all sorts of good press. The USGBC declared Make It Right to be the "largest and greenest single family community in the world." One of the newest homes in this green community is the FLOAT House by Morphosis Architects, which was designed and built under the direction of Thom Mayne and with the help of numerous UCLA graduate students. The FLOAT House is a prototype for prefab affordable housing that is adaptable to flood zones worldwide.