Steadily we are entering the solar age for energy independence. Solar powered energy system facilitates good and healthy living and saves a lot of energy resources. This power when used intelligently, can act as a boon to provide all support needed to be in a comfortable shelter. Heating the room during winter, cooling it in summer, having a hot water for bath and use, zero cost of electricity and much more talk in favor of its existence.
However the installation factor is the key limiting area why these solar homes are not catching the desired heat in the market. Also these techniques are assumed to be best suited for hot countries with abundance of sun light. However a fact remains that technologies today have become so advanced that even cold countries can have a comfortable solar powered home.
To encourage more such home solutions and gather innovative and sustaining ideas and architectural designs, The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon organized a national level competition focusing the young brains of student community.
This competition aimed at cost effective and energy efficient architectural designs from across nation. Many teams from reputed institutes across nation participated in this prestigious event and brought forth innovative, energy efficient and futuristic home designs to the current architectural platform.
One among these teams were a group of architectural students from Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology popularly known as SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon team who have been highlighted as one of the top ten best entries for their design “CHIP House” (Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype).
The CHIP house is a next generation high tech solar powered housing model. It brings an intellectual and futuristic design incorporating polygonal shaped 750 square foot home with net zero energy equation. Its outer wall is made of cellulose-filled batts system, which is covered by an airtight and water-resistant architectural grade polymer-coated vinyl. The terrace is made of 235W photo-voltaic panels capable to capture high solar energy.
It has a personal energy management technology with ipad app eGauge to monitor the energy flow helping the users to control its usage. And for the home entertainment part it comes with an XBox Kinect system where the users can control the application by mere hand gestures.
Interior wall made of canvas stores a layer of 5 platforms for kitchen, bedroom and living. It has unique and flexible cabinets and furniture, which can be fitted and used as per need. The bathroom has been designed to be in a wet style where the actual stainless steel bathtub opens under wooden plank flooring.
The Chip house concept of living is an inspiration derived from the active Californian style. The result is shown in its space saving yet comfortable interiors. The flexible interiors have adopted the ethics of doing more with less.
The technical design has been done with respect to capture solar energy and use it at maximum. The exterior wall with necessary R values act as a key necessity for the zero net equation. And the whole concept runs around four main interconnected components namely Energy Monitoring, Control 14, Prediction and planning and Home Interface.
Apart from the solar panels attached to the house, there are many other innovative technologies which supports maximum energy saving. For instance, the integration of thermal power between HVAC heat pump and domestic hot water heat pump facilitates hot water management through converting the interior heat into heating water for use. Another unique feature technology is with its solar tubes and light louver, which uses the LEDs and CFLs during night hours. The well computed house is also enabled with whether forecast through Internet and electricity management system. With its holistic heating and cooling system, waste water recycling, low-flush toilets, and a 7.8 kW photovoltaic system and control 14 system to switch off the lights when not used, makes an ideal home for energy efficiency. Moreover, the CHIP house’s slanting roof of solar insulators acts as a protective shield and water proofing system.
The CHIP can also be referred as Compact housing and innovative place to live in. This is a solar powered home and is best suitable in countries where sun is bright almost always to bring in the needed solar energy. In wholistic sense it’s a home for future. With advanced computing system and sophisticated technologies, it not only ensures a comfortable living experience with luxury but also highly efficient to balance the ecological environment.
There were some more attractive designs which were highlighted for notice.
TRTL is a home designed by The University of Calgary (Team Canada) for the Southern Alberta. Traditional home with arched solar roof, energy efficient systems and sustainable materials.
2. perFORMDance House
Modern Floridian bungalow perFORMDance House designed by Florida International University is a whitewashed home with eco-friendly features and simple sustainable design.
3. First Light House
The First Light House is a New Zealand beach house designed by architecture students of the Victoria University of Wellington. Inspired by the traditional Kiwi house, there is lot of emphasis on outdoor living with abundance of natural lighting.
5. Empower house
With a very functional housing concept, Empower house is a design by team collaboration of Parsons The New School for Design, The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School and the Stevens Institute of Technology. Empower house does take everyone’s attention through its unique e and functional design. This home plans to take a real home place for two lucky families in D.C’s Deanwood neighbor.
Via : Inhabitat