Featured image: UC Davis team’s entry in the 2015 Solar Decathlon. Photo courtesy of solardecathlon.gov.
The Solar Decathlon, hosted by the United States Department of Energy, is an annual competition for students in engineering and architecture to design and build houses that are solar-powered, energy-efficient, affordable, and beautifully designed. Teams from various colleges and universities come up with innovative solutions for the future of housing, many of which can be implemented by the builders of today.
EcoBuilding Pulse has just published a video featuring several teams with ideas that could really be used by builders.
The team from the Univeristy of California, Davis, used a “night sky radiant cooling system” which sprays chilled water on the house’s radiant slabs, eliminating the need for an air conditioning system in hot climates like California. This saves up to 50% in household energy consumption.
The team from the Stevens Institute of Technology, impacted by 2012 Superstorm Sandy, endeavored to build a house that is flood-proof using standard building materials for the house and for “storm plugs” which are protective panels that bolt into the windows and shutters that fold down to cover the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors to the patio.
Clemson University‘s team streamlined the construction process of their home by designing 3D-printed, prefabricated parts which can be easily assembled, with all the cutouts for utilities already there, saving the need for numerous skilled laborers to perform specialized tasks on a construction site.