AT THE GREAT PARK
Solar Decathlon 2013
The Solar Decathlon, the biennial university competition to build the house of the future, has moved to Orange County this year. Twenty teams of students from 30 schools have designed houses that aim to be energy-efficient, technologically innovative, water-wise, affordable and, yes, good-looking.
Here you’ll find articles from The Times on the 2013 competition, including student-written dispatches from the scene and judging results in 10 categories for the event, which runs through Oct. 13. You can also follow our coverage on Twitter (@cnakano) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/latimeshome).
On the scene:
Solar Decathlon 2013 winner is Team Austria; UNLV finishes second
"Austrian students from the Vienna University of Technology edged out the University of Nevada Las Vegas and 17 other collegiate teams Saturday in Irvine to win the 2013 Solar Decathlon, the closest finish to the sustainable house design competition since it started 11 years ago.
Like 100-meter sprinters separated by hundredths of a second, Team Austria beat UNLV by 4.35 points out of a possible 1,000. Czech Technical University placed third, just 2.43 points behind UNLV...."
Czechs win architecture contest, Austria takes overall lead
"The Czech Republic entry in the 2013 Solar Decathlon won the architecture portion of the 19-team university competition Friday, but as the event sped toward its conclusion Sunday at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, a team of students from Austria surged into the overall lead.
Czech Technical University students placed first in the architecture judging with a minimalist studio partially wrapped in wood slat canopy. As we noted in a previous article, the design not only cools living spaces with beautiful simplicity but also creates ethereal moments when walking through the structure...."
UNLV solar house wins for market appeal, Norwich most affordable
"The University of Nevada Las Vegas won the market appeal contest Thursday at the 2013 Solar Decathlon, edging out Vienna University of Technology, Stanford and Czech Technical University in one key phase of the 19-team competition to build the sustainable house of the future.
UNLV scored 94 out of a possible 100 points allotted for market appeal with a smartly designed house that blends urban modern with desert rustic...."
In era of steel and glass, Team Austria builds a beauty in wood
"Although it was designed in Vienna, Team Austria's entry for the 2013 Solar Decathlon seems better suited to the event's sun-washed setting in Southern California. Wall-to-wall sliding glass pocket doors open up most of the home to the outdoors, including two large decks. Breezes flow through without impediment.
Native California plants -- rented for the decathlon, so as not to waste resources -- sit at your feet on the porch, and above float fabric canopies that can retract when the sun isn't out...."
Made for shade: Curtains and blinds move to the outside of houses
"Kitchens moved outside. So did rugs, lamps and the dining table. Now we even have the outdoor bed. It was inevitable that curtains and window shades would follow suit.
At the 2013 Solar Decathlon, the university design competition on view through Sunday at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, the phenomenon is driven by function, not style. Several teams have deployed louvers, blinds and screens on the homes' exteriors to block sunlight and its accompanying heat before they enter the house, not after they have passed through a window or glass door...."
Student designs push smart-home technology into the app era
"While showing flickers of promise, smart homes -- residences that digitally monitor and regulate energy use and technology in the house -- have yet to take off in the U.S. But at the Solar Decathlon in Irvine, they're everywhere..."
Stanford calls in tech firepower for solar Start.Home
"The Bruce Jenner of this decathlon arguably is Stanford, a school that wouldn't surprise anyone with its engineering prowess. And even if you like to root against a favorite -- one that is competing in the Solar Decathlon for the first time and yet exhibiting just the slightest air of cockiness -- you'd have to admit this team has delivered with its Start.Home...."
North Carolina team's solar house: surprise in the concrete walls
University of North Carolina
"University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which like the 19 other teams in the Department of Energy competition, is racing to finish construction by Wednesday, so it could open to the public Tuesday at the Orange County Great Park. Team leader Clarke Snell, a master's student in architecture, explained why the UNC Charlotte house has walls made of geopolymer concrete with "capillary tubes" and why the team had to play a little catch-up in Irvine...."
Team Capitol DC designs solar house as haven for wounded veterans
Catholic University of America, George Washington University and American University
"When members of Team Capitol DC began their Solar Decathlon project two years ago, they were struck by the troubles facing recently returned veterans, some of whom were homeless. The team's Harvest Home is meant to be part of the solution: It will serve as a transitional residence near San Diego for a wounded veteran, a patient at the Veterans Affairs medical center in La Jolla who prefers not to be identified. After he leaves the house, other veterans will live in it, all part of a program run by local nonprofit Wounded Warrior Homes...."
Middlebury solar house turns green design into a liberal art
"What might be the most unorthodox team in the 2013 Solar Decathlon comes from Middlebury College in Vermont. The institution with about 2,500 students doesn't have graduate programs, so no engineering or architecture school, and all of its team members study liberal arts -- think English or economics. Developing a Solar Decathlon house is part of a two-semester, interdepartmental class...."
SCI-Arc/Caltech Solar Decathlon house on the move, down the 405
Southern California Institute of Architecture and Caltech
DALE, Dynamic Augmented Living Environment
"The 2013 Solar Decathlon shifted into high gear at the Great Park in Orange County on Thursday, and while most of the 20 teams were accelerating efforts to finish their eco-friendly house of the future in the next six days, the combined Southern California Institute of Architecture and Caltech house hit an unexpected detour..."