WIT Press

The Solar D House


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Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Garrison


The Solar Decathlon provided a national forum for competition among fourteen university student teams, each of which designed, built, and operated a totally solar-powered home with a home office and their transportation needs using a solar-charged vehicle. The competition took place on the National Mall in Washington D.C., where each house was constructed and operated from September 18 to October 10, 2002. The competition consisted of ten contests focusing on energy production, energy-efficiency, design, thermal comfort, refrigeration, lighting, communication and transportation. 1 Introduction Professor Michael Garrison of the School of Architecture directed the University of Texas at Austin (UT) Solar Decathlon team along with Pliny Fisk, co-director of the non-profit Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, Texas. The graduate student team developed a design that features an open building system using a reusable kit of parts that sits lightly on the land and forms the superstructure around a mobile utility environment. Our investigations suggest that progressive technologies offer solutions to the serious emerging challenges of energy efficiency and sustainable development and thereby become a strong design shaping force. These progressive technologies: photovoltaic (PV) power, passive solar heating, daylighting, natural ventilation, and solar hot water heating were integrated with concepts of affordability and energy conservation to help promote an ideology of sustainable architecture. 2 Design Given the fact that the competition brief implied a portable and temporary structure that could be erected in a few days without the use of heavy cranes, the