An entry in the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition, Ecohabit is a project of a cross-disciplinary group of sixty Stevens Institute of Technology students with expertise it the areas of engineering, design, computer science, and the technological aspects of business, visual arts, and music.
The Stevens Team, only one of twenty that were selected to compete in this year’s Solar Decathlon, states that its mission is to create an innovative home that utilizes green technology to revolutionize renewable energy and sustainable living strategies and practices.
Ecohabit features a smart detection system so that the home can learn from its occupants (or users) to optimize energy efficiency. Its climate control systems include a Haiku ceiling fan, multi-stage heat pump, seven air delivery registers, a dehumidifying ventilator, a condensate misting system, and a dedicated energy recovery ventilator in the bathroom.
The duct system is monitored for changes in pressure, temperature, and air velocity; data is analyzed against a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model to determine where changes to the duct design can improve optimization.
Ecohabit is split into two modules that minimize the distribution of plumbing. The dry module harnesses energy and heat from the sun during the day and maintains interior temperatures by releasing heat into the home during the night.
The wet module features a green roof, a green wall, drainage system collection system for 100% runoff retention, and an on-demand hot water system. The roof garden is made of one-inch thick sedum tiles that function similarly to sod, collecting rainwater and runoff into the green wall and then directing it to a vegetable garden, for which drought-resistant plants were chosen to accommodate the dry climate of southern California.
Construction started in April 2013, but the team has been working on Ecohabit for almost two years in preparation for Decathlon judging that takes place on October 3-13, 2013 in Irvine, California.