2013 Solar Decathlon

2013 Solar Decathlon


The Solar Decathlon is a biennial competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE). It challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate 1,000 square foot solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and innovative. The DOE selected 20 collegiate teams to compete in Solar Decathlon 2013. USC is one of four teams selected to represent California. The 2013 competition will be held at the Orange County Great Park in October and it will be the first time that the Decathlon takes place outside of Washington, DC.



The competition consists of 10 categories: Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Appliances, Affordability, Comfort Zones, Hot Water Usage, Communication, Home Entertainment, and Energy Balance. The team with the highest point total will be declared the winner. During the two-week competition period, the houses will be open to the public.



Team USC is a collaboration, led by the School of Architecture (SOA) and consisting of students, faculty, and researchers from SOA, Viterbi School of Engineering, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, School of Cinematic Arts, Rossier School of Education, and Marshall School of Business, with the shared goal to design and build an innovative single-family dwelling that serves as a model for sustainable living in Southern California, as well as a viable alternative to the suburban tract house and urban sprawl.



Architecturally, fluxHome™ is motivated by a combination of environmental and economic factors. With a climate that averages 300 days of sun per year, Southern California’s environment is characterized by the distinctive qualities of pervasive sunlight and moderate temperatures, as well as by diversity of its ecologies and microclimates. fluxHome™ celebrates these conditions by reimagining the tract house as an open volume. Instead of a hermetic box on a suburban lot, the house is a thermally-responsive envelope that easily opens and closes according to the weather and time of day, modulating sunlight and air providing various degrees of shade and privacy. fluxHome™ reconceives the typical front lawn, side yard, and backyard as courtyard, veranda, and porch, which are integrated with the primary structure, resulting in a porous envelope that seamlessly merges indoor and outdoor space–the suburban tract house turned inside out.

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